Raila plays down claims of tallying centre in Tanzania

Nasa presidential candidate Raila Odinga was evasive when asked to clear reports that the opposition has created a tallying centre in Tanzania.

Mr Odinga initially dismissed the suggestion as “pure imagination” but then said its existence should not be a big deal since no law prevents interested parties from carrying out parallel tallying.

The former Prime Minister was the sole participant at the debate for the leading presidential candidates after President Uhuru Kenyatta ended a day of mixed signals from State House by skipping the event.

Mr Odinga used the opportunity to elaborate on his campaign promises such as the reduction of rent and to emphasise his assertions that all the security agencies are involved in a conspiracy with the Jubilee administration to steal the General Election in 14 days.

Mr Odinga caused laughter when he repeatedly referred to NTV’s Linus Kaikai as Joe, confusing him with KTN’s Joe Ageyo.  After the break, he preferred to sit rather than stand at the lectern.

POLLING CENTRE

Asked about the reported plan to set up the tallying centre in Tanzania, which President John Magufuli’s spokesman had denied earlier in the day, he was hesitant and then bullish.

 “Certain things exist in people’s imagination. Why do we even need to have a polling centre in Tanzania?” he posed.

He said that with the court ruling on results from the constituency being final and with parties tallying their results, there would be no reason to worry.

“Why should somebody be worried about a polling centre whether it is in Germany, Tanzania or even on the moon? It should not be an issue,” he added.

When pushed to answer the question specifically, he said: “We have a tallying centre in Kenya, in Kenya and in the clouds.”

REDUCE RENT

Asked about his pledge to reduce rent, Mr Odinga said the promise was premised on implementation of the Rent Restrictions Act, saying it had been ignored giving landlords the freedom to raise rent rates arbitrarily.

“We are going to enforce the Rent Restriction Act to protect the poor, to ensure they are not exploited,” he said.

Nasa flagbearer Raila Odinga is welcomed for the presidential debate by Royal Media boss Wachira Waruru (left), NMG boss Joe Muganda (second right) and Standard Group CEO Sam Shollei (right) at Catholic University in Nairobi on July 24, 2017. PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Nasa flagbearer Raila Odinga is welcomed for the presidential debate by Royal Media boss Wachira Waruru (left), NMG boss Joe Muganda (second right) and Standard Group CEO Sam Shollei (right) at Catholic University in Nairobi on July 24, 2017. PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Mr Odinga said the issue was part of conversations he has had with landlords and those with temporary ownership of the land on which they have put up structures.

He suggested that he would target rent for those in low-cost housing and slums.

The former Prime Minister insisted that his claims about the involvement of the security agencies in the election were based on real intelligence.

“I have not been crying wolf. Kenyans know the truth,” said Mr Odinga.

RIGGED OUT

He referred to the events in 2007, when he ended up claiming he had been rigged out after the reduction of his lead over Mwai Kibaki and repeated the allegation, which has since been proven false, that there were two million more voters for the presidency in 2013 than for other positions.

“The National Intelligence Service must desist from interfering with the election process,” he said and insisted that despite assertions to the contrary by the Kenya Defence Forces, the military was being deployed to opposition zones to foment violence and suppress voter turnout.

READ: Nasa accuses Army of plot to disrupt polls – VIDEO

“I was the Prime Minister and used to co-chair the National Security Advisory Committee. I have information. When I am talking, I am talking with authority and nobody can dispute me,” he said, adding that his information was based on  credible sources and that he had written to the heads of the security agencies expressing his fears.

AL-SHABAAB ATTACKS

The Nasa flagbearer dismissed attempts to link politics to Al-Shabaab attacks in the country, blaming the terrorism raids on what he said was leadership failure.

“During national holidays, you keep seeing all these weaponry being displayed. But they are nowhere when the attacks happen,” he said.

He also took a swipe at President Kenyatta, referring to an incident when Al Shabaab attacked the country when  the Head of State was abroad. 

Businessman Jimi Wanjigi and Ms Rosemary Odinga follow the presidential debate at Catholic University in Nairobi on July 24, 2017. PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE | NATION MEDIA GROUP



Businessman Jimi Wanjigi and Ms Rosemary Odinga follow the presidential debate at Catholic University in Nairobi on July 24, 2017. PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

“If I was the President, I would not be watching Formula 1 in Dubai when the people are being attacked by Al Shabaab. I would lead from the front,” said Mr Odinga.

 He was also questioned on his stand on corruption, and particularly his handling of the 2008 maize importation scandal.

CAROLI OMONDI

“I immediately asked the people who were mentioned to step aside. Caroli Omondi had signed to allow the importation because there were delays. We sought Cabinet approval for an extra Sh14 billion and I asked him to write a letter. He was later cleared,” he said.

Asked what he would do about the four Kenyans jailed in South Sudan, Mr Odinga said he had discussed the matter with the South Sudan government when the four were arrested and that he had been told they would be subjected to a fair trial.

A section of the audience follows the debate at Catholic University in Nairobi on July 24, 2017. PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

A section of the audience follows the debate at Catholic University in Nairobi on July 24, 2017. PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

He said Kenya has the “sufficient political leverage” over South Sudan to ensure that is done.

“What I am saying amounts to appealing on their behalf by saying that I am not convinced that they got a fair trial by international standards,” said Mr Odinga.

ATTACKS

He said his constant attacks on institutions was constructive criticism and cited the push for the removal of the Issack Hassan team from the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission as an example.

He insisted that his comments in Kajiado that people should not sell their land to outsiders was meant to deter poor people from selling their land .

“I never said that they should return people to where they came from. Those who have bought their land, no one will take it away. All I said is that they should not sell them if they are poor.

Those that have large acres can go on and do that. Raila wants an integrated country,” he said.

He reiterated his calls for the implementation of the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission report.

Debate starts 30 minutes late after President Kenyatta fails to show up.

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