National Super Alliance leader Raila Odinga on Saturday said he would fight to defend his election “victory” regardless of the outcome of a petition lodged at the Supreme Court.
During the funeral of Christopher Msando on Saturday, Mr Odinga said Kenyans would not let the slain Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission ICT chief down.
Also at the funeral were Nasa principals Musalia Mudavadi of Amani National Congress and Ford Kenya’s Moses Wetang’ula.
Mr Odinga, who took a swipe at the commission’s senior officials and top government officers for skipping the funeral at Lifunga Village, Siaya County, said the opposition petitioned the Supreme Court over the presidential election results but “we will not accept and move on”.
IEBC chairman Wafula Chebukati and chief executive Ezra Chiloba were conspicuously absent.
They were represented by Rasi Masudi, who is in charge of voter education and partnership, and Decimah M’mayi, the head of research and development at the commission.
Ms M’mayi read the IEBC message of condolence on behalf of Mr Chebukati.
Mr Chris Owiye, the IEBC officer in charge of investigations and prosecutions, as well as Turkana County elections manager George Oyugi among others were present.
“Kenyans won’t accept and move on. We told you we would not come here to tell you the elections were stolen,” Mr Odinga, who is also the Orange Democratic Movement leader, told the hundreds of mourners.
He claimed Msando was sacrificed to facilitate rigging of the presidential election and accused the government of lacking respect for human life.
“Msando’s children asked me who killed their father and why,” he said.
“We must tell the world that Kenya is part of the civilised society. Chris died a hero because he refused to be part and parcel of rigging.”
Mr Odinga likened the murder of Msando to that of independence heroes Pio Gama Pinto and Josiah Mwangi Kariuki as well as University of Nairobi lecturer Chrispine Odhiambo Mbai.
“Kenyans will not allow their sons and daughters to be butchered. We will not let Msando down. The young people must stand up. Enough is enough,” Mr Odinga said.
Mr Odinga hit out at the top IEBC leadership for skipping the burial, saying their absence and that of senior government officials spoke volumes and “is an expression of guilt”.
Mr Mudavadi said Msando died while protecting Kenya’s democracy.
He told the Supreme Court to give a judgment “that respects the choice of Kenyans”.
“If the Supreme Court is for Kenyans, it must give a comprehensive judgment,” Mr Mudavadi, a former deputy prime minister, said.
“We want to get every judge’s ruling and not a single statement like what happened in 2013. Msando’s blood won’t go in vain.”
Like his ANC counterpart, Mr Wetang’ula said Msando paid the ultimate price for promoting and protecting democracy.
“The lesson is never to give up. God does not rest or get tired,” the Bungoma Senator said.
He added that the world was keenly watching the Supreme Court and how it would handle the Nasa petition.
“To David Maraga, the Chief Justice and head of the Supreme Court, and the other judges, you will be condemned if you sit and make a single pronouncement,” the Ford-K chief, who was Leader of the Minority in the Senate, told the crowd.
“There can be no peace where there is no justice. The power of the masses is stronger and greater than those in power.”
The Bungoma senator said the people who brutalised Msando would pay for their crimes.
Siaya Senator James Orengo said Msando was killed because he stood for proper elections in Kenya.
“A government that kills its people is not worth being in power. We will not let Msando down,” Mr Orengo said.
His Vihiga counterpart George Khaniri said the opposition was not short of options apart from the Supreme Court. He, however, did not elaborate.
“We, as western Kenya leaders, are firmly behind Raila. We want you to continue with the journey to Canaan,” he said, referring to the opposition chief’s rallying call after being nominated the Nasa presidential flagbearer months ago. Mr Odinga said the journey to Canaan had begun.
Kisumu Senator Anyang’ Nyong’o also expressed dismay at Msando’s killing.
“Something is rotten in Kenya. The fish rots from the head. The rot in Kenya is with the top leadership,” the Kisumu Governor-elect said.
“Msando stood for the truth. A people united shall never be defeated. Kenyans are determined to send the top leadership home.”
Ugunja MP Opiyo Wandayi said Kenyans must stand firm “against the dragon of impunity that rears its ugly head during campaigns and the General Election.
“They cannot kill Chris and send police officers to kill our people,” he said.
Msando’s widow Eve Buyu termed his killers “stupid, heartless and merciless for making me a widow at a young age”.
Together with her children, she demanded to know her husband’s killer or killers. “To the planners and killers, you can run but not hide,” she said.
Siaya Governor Cornel Rasanga and a host of MPs, senators and MCAs also attended Msando’s burial.
Petitioners claim polls agency conducted the presidential election so badly.