Leaders challenged to end violence, endorse national healing

Given the provisional results released by the electoral commission Friday, it is a forgone conclusion that President Uhuru Kenyatta will be declared the winner of the repeat election once the tallying is completed in the next seven days.

Kenyans have been hoping that the fresh election would bring to an end the high political temperatures that have left the country deeply divided.

While appreciating the expectations of the public, Mr Wafula Chebukati, the IEBC chairman, said his team was working hard to conclude the tallying.

“We acknowledge the fact that you want to move on with your lives and as such we are working round the clock to conclude this election process,” he said Friday afternoon in a briefing.

VICTORY
President Kenyatta’s Jubilee Party has said it is sure of a win whether or not voting takes place in Opposition strongholds.

Party Secretary General Raphael Tuju said that the electoral commission would still be at liberty to declare Mr Kenyatta the winner, as the uncast votes would not affect his win.

“We are happy to have won this election,” he said. “We are just waiting for IEBC to make the official pronouncement.”

Voting in Nyanza that was to take place on Saturday was postponed due to security concerns of IEBC officials.

CREDIBILITY
Although the poll will close one chapter, it is likely to open yet another that promises to be more dramatic.

But with the repeat election out of the way, the question that will now engage Kenyans is what will happen next and what this will mean for the country torn apart and in need of healing and redemption.

Already, Opposition Nasa leaders have questioned the legitimacy of President Kenyatta’s re-election, saying the number of votes he has garnered in the fresh poll is lower than what he got in the August 8 election.

“Where did Uhuru get the 8 million votes,” Mr Odinga asked at a rally in Kibra on Friday.

By that time, IEBC interim results were showing Mr Kenyatta had garnered over 5.6 million votes against Mr Odinga’s 27,000 votes.

ILLEGAL ELECTION
Mr Odinga wrote a letter to the electoral commission earlier in the month withdrawing his candidature.

However, his name was retained on the ballot paper because he did not fill in Form 24A as required by law.

Meanwhile, an activist, Mr Okiyah Omtatah, was in court on Friday to challenge the election held on Thursday.

Mr Omtatah argued that the “purported fresh presidential election” was irregular even before it was held and, therefore, was nothing more than an exercise in futility.

SUPREME COURT
According to him, the decision by the Nasa flagbearer, Mr Odinga, to withdraw from the election had created a crisis and he wanted the Supreme Court to clarify the law and pronounce itself on the validity of the election.

Mr Omtatah’s is unlikely to be the only petition challenging Mr Kenyatta’s re-election given that one of the top Nasa leaders, Mr Musalia Mudavadi, on Friday accused Jubilee Party of militarising elections.

Speaking in Nairobi, Mr Mudavadi described the election as a sham and urged party supporters in Migori, Siaya, Kisumu and Homa Bay to boycott the repeat election, which has since been pushed forward.

ADVENTISTS
Earlier on Friday, church leaders from Nyanza had criticised the decision to hold the election on Saturday, saying it would interfere with religious activities since many people from the region are Seventh Day Adventists.

The leaders, who included the Rev Canon Joshua Owiti of the Diocese of Maseno East, the Rt Rev Francis Mwai Abiero of the Diocese of Maseno West, among others, called for the withdrawal of all the security agents from the region.

But even if the petition filed by Mr Omtatah is thrown out by the Supreme Court, the work ahead for Kenyan leaders is immense and there will be need for political players from the two divides to talk and find ways to ensure a harmonious future.

DIALOGUE

On Thursday, President Kenyatta indicated that he was ready to reach out to Mr Odinga for talks.

“As a responsible leader, you must reach out, and that is my intention,” he said after casting his vote in Gatundu, Kiambu County.

Makueni Senator Mutula Kilonzo on Friday revisited the matter, saying that the country was on the way to an impasse and instability that can only be addressed through political dialogue.

Such dialogue should revisit the issue of electoral reforms, which he said, were hijacked by Jubilee through its amendments to the elections law in January.

LEADERSHIP
According to him, the dialogue should focus on the proposals developed by the bipartisan joint committee of Parliament co-chaired by Siaya Senator James Orengo and Meru Governor Kiraitu Murungi.

“We must pick up those proposals and ensure they are implemented,” he said.

Mr Odinga has in the past indicated that he would be willing to hold talks with the President.

However, the President’s Jubilee Party said that would only be possible after the election.

On Friday however he adopted a critical stand against the Jubilee Party and the government at the Kibra rally.

Wapende wasipende wataenda nyumbani (they will go home whether they like it or not),” he said and promised to give a way forward on Monday.

POLICE BRUTALITY

In his last rally on Wednesday, Mr Odinga said Nasa had transformed into a National Resistance Movement.

Political leaders from Machakos, Makueni, Kitui and Nairobi counties also condemned what they called “isolation and profiling” of the Luo community.

The leaders, who included Wiper party Organising Secretary and Kitui Senator Enock Wambua, further condemned police brutality against civilians in Machakos and other regions. 

“In Athi River, there are reports that two people were killed and two others injured and hospitalised,” they said in a statement Friday.

Reported by Jacquiline Kubania, Justus Ochieng, Ibrahim Oruko and Stephen Muthini

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