President Uhuru Kenyatta has challenged the opposition to withdraw from the August 8 election if it was not ready to face voters.
While campaigning in Turkana on Monday, he asked Nasa to stop misleading Kenyans regarding the elections, which are just 27 days away, with a stream of cases in court against the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission.
“They should stop playing with the minds of Kenyans. If they are not ready for the polls, let them step aside and allow those who want to participate to do so instead of trying to sabotage the process. Kenyans are ready to go to the polls on August 8 and no one will deny them that right,” said the President.
Instead, he argued that the Jubilee Party should be raising questions about the elections because they were yet to complete their five-year term in office.
“I am the one who should have issues with the August 8 date because I will be the first President of Kenya to accept to be in office for less than five years.
Accepting to participate in elections when my exact term has elapsed around six months earlier is evidence that Jubilee is ready for polls.” he said.
The President said if he wanted to be vexatious he would have used the courts to argue that he has served for only four-and-a-half years instead of a full five-year term.
“But that does not support the spirit of the Constitution. The opposition leaders who are pricing themselves as democrats should know that,” he said in Lodwar.
It was not logical, said the Head of State, that Nasa had no issues with the printing of ballot papers for MCAs, MPs, woman representatives, senators and governors but only those for the presidential candidates.
“We should be given time to continue with those who are ready to contest and those who are not ready should wait till 2022 to battle it out with Mr Ruto for the presidential seat,” he said.
President Kenyatta criticised Nasa for rallying for change under “the guise of false promises”, saying they had nothing new to offer because they were also in power and they did nothing to develop the country.
“For over 35 years of service in government, they were ministers, Vice President and Prime Minister. Why didn’t they advocate the change they are rallying for now?” he asked.
The President, accompanied by Deputy President William Ruto and other Jubilee leaders from the county, said it will not be fair to Kenyans for the opposition to scuttle the August polls for their selfish interests.
Speaking on the ballot tender ruling, Mr Ruto said: “Where is the independence of the Judiciary when judges who are relatives of those who have cases with us are appointed to preside over the cases? Help us to understand what happens when appointed judges unapologetically show that they are biased.”
The DP thanked Chief Justice David Maraga for clarifying that he did not direct the polls team not to print ballot papers for the presidential race but said he “should have done that immediately it was reported and we could have avoided what we have today in the country”. Mr Ruto said there were judges who had shown political bias in the case.
President Kenyatta and Mr Ruto stressed that Turkana had benefited from development projects by the government like other parts of the country.
“The first tarmac road in Turkana was constructed when my father was in power and my government is rehabilitating it.
We are working on over 650km of road in Turkana County even to the far-flung towns such as Lokitaung,” said the President.
Mr Ruto said the Lodwar-Lorugum road and the Lokitaung-Todonyang-Lowarengeak-Kalokol road were under construction and promised to begin work on the Lodwar-Eliye Spring road and the Lodwar-Kalokol road.
In Kakuma, he said plans were under way to connect the town to electricity to rescue residents from cartels who were charging Sh50 per house daily for power from brokers.
The residents will now be paying Sh250 a month, he said.
Lokichar will be the first town in Turkana County to be connected to the national grid.
The power will be generated from Turkwel Gorge on Turkana and West Pokot counties boundary. The project, launched by President Kenyatta, has been valued at Sh1 billion.
On health, the President said they had installed specialised hospital equipment at Lodwar and Lopiding health facilities.