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IEBC cautions Nasa on plan to set up tallying centre

Nasa leaders put the electoral commission on the spot and said they would set up their own presidential tallying system for the August 8 General Election.

The four National Super Alliance leaders also questioned the readiness of the electoral commission to conduct the elections.

They said the commission was under-funded and this week cancelled the Sh3 billion integrated elections management systems tender.

But electoral commission chairman Wafula Chebukati warned immediately that the commission was the only one constitutionally mandated to announce results and declare winners.

“The parallel vote tallying centre that the Opposition has proposed is not recognised in law and whatever comes out of it will not make a difference,” said Mr Chebukati at a press conference in his Nairobi office on Friday.

At the rally, Mr Raila Odinga (ODM), Mr Kalonzo Musyoka (Wiper), Mr Musalia Mudavadi (Amani National Congress) and Mr Moses Wetang’ula (Ford Kenya) declared that they would hold a “peaceful revolution” should the election not be credible.

Mr Mudavadi sharply criticised an order given this week by Internal Cabinet Secretary Joseph Nkaissery, who said mass action would not be allowed after the election.

“They have cancelled the tender and now they are going manual. This time round we shall have our own presidential tallying centre such as they had in Ghana. It is not the monopoly of Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission or Jubilee to bring this biometric system. We shall bring our own. We shall no longer cry again,” said Mr Musyoka.

The leaders were also keen to demonstrate their unity, with Mr Mudavadi urging supporters to back whoever is picked as the Opposition presidential candidate.

Ahead of the rally at Masinde Muliro Gardens in Mathare, Nairobi, Nasa leaders had said that the Opposition alliance would make a major announcement. The expectation was that they would name the flagbearer. They did not.

NOT BREAKING UP

They were all united in declaring that none of the four would quit the coalition after it nominates its flagbearer.

Mr Odinga praised Mr Musyoka, describing him as a courageous leader. This watered down claims that Mr Musyoka would quit the coalition.

“All of us are in Nasa. Kalonzo is totally with us and there are no gaps. He stood with me in 2013. He is a man,” said Mr Odinga.

READ: We will remain united, Nasa leaders declare

The leaders also accused the government of “deliberately denying the electoral commission enough funds” so it could resort to a manual system that was open to manipulation.

“How is it possible that they don’t have adequate budget?” asked Mr Mudavadi.

At Masinde Muliro Gardens, the four political leaders sought to reassure their supporters that the National Super Alliance ship is intact.

In what appeared to be a new strategy to prepare supporters to accept any candidate that would be selected as flagbearer, Mr Odinga was the first to speak before inviting Mr Musyoka, his 2013 running mate, who in turn invited Mr Wetang’ula.

The Bungoma Senator then invited Mr Mudavadi before other MPs addressed the gathering.

Mr Mudavadi dwelt at length on seeking to calm the waters, asking their supporters to embrace whoever would be nominated.

“This thing of saying if it is not so and so we shall not vote should not arise,” he said. “Those who think like that are Jubilee supporters”.

He reminded supporters that Nasa’s aim was to remove Jubilee from power and asked them to support whoever is picked as flagbearer. He described the Opposition coalition as a “big tent” that was enough to accommodate everyone.

READ: Your time is over, Nasa tells Jubilee

Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero, who invited Mr Odinga, set the tone for the meeting, telling the crowd that Nasa is confident of winning most national and county assembly seats.

Mr Odinga criticised President Uhuru Kenyatta, saying he had mismanaged the economy.

“They say they have built 7,500 kilometres of roads. That is like going from Nairobi to Rome. Where in Kenya are these roads?” Mr Odinga asked.

According to him, only 500 kilometres of roads had been built since 2013.

NASA’S PLOT

Mr Mudavadi also criticised Jubilee’s handling of the economy, saying the ruling party had sunk the country deeper into debt, leading to a rise in the cost of goods likes maize flour and fuel.

Mr Musyoka said Kenya is ripe for change as it happened recently in Nigeria, Ghana and the Gambia.

“This time election thieves won’t continue stealing. Kenya is ready for a peaceful revolution. As Nasa we believe in peace but it cannot be taken for granted because the peace comes as a result of fair and credible elections,” he said.

Mr Wetang’ula revisited the post-election violence debate triggered by President Kenyatta in Kisii on Thursday.

“Uhuru says Raila is the one who started the post-election violence. He should carry out investigations to establish who burnt the people in the church in Eldoret. Kenyans are not fools,” he said.

He said the old wounds should be let to heal so that the country can focus on the present and the future.

Meanwhile, Jubilee Party on Friday accused the Opposition of hatching a plot to ensure the General Election is not held in August.

Addressing a news conference at the party’s headquarters, the party’s head of the secretariat, Mr Raphael Tuju, claimed that Nasa was hell bent on interfering with the elections through court cases to make sure the polls do not take place.

“They have blocked procurement of ballot papers, the audit of the voter register, the tendering for computer equipment. They also accused national intelligence service of registering foreigners as voters and claimed the duplications on the voter registration showed the system had been rigged,” he said.

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