Kenyatta was right to criticised Judiciary for interfering with August 8 polls
When President Uhuru Kenyatta criticized the Judiciary for interfering with arrangements for the by revoking the ballot printing tender, many were quick to criticize him.
However, the President’s exacerbation with the Opposition over its sustained onslaught on the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) that now threatens the poll is understandable.
Sober Kenyans could understand where he was coming from. When Opposition leader Raila Odinga last year staged street demos demanding the resignation of IEBC commissioners led by Issack Hassan, the President was among those who warned of the danger removing the team portends for preparations for this year’s election.
Indeed, Uhuru has previously supported not just the IEBC but also the Judiciary over what he said was intimidation by the Opposition.
“People should concentrate on looking for votes peacefully instead of threatening the IEBC and the Judiciary. If you believe people will buy your agenda, you do not have to use threats and intimidation,” President Kenyatta told the Opposition on May 19.
While the Opposition led by Raila insists its desire is to seek a level playing ground, it has not been lost to many that the fight against IEBC fits well into Raila’s history of intimidating and destroying institutions.
There is no doubt that the current IEBC under the chairmanship of Wafula Chebukati has bent over backward to accommodate Nasa’s incessant demands, some of them outrageous.
This has, however, not stopped the Opposition from filing suit after suit the latest being the one seeking to stop the commission from resorting to manual voter verification and transmission of results in case electronic gadgets fail. It total, Nasa has filed 12 cases against the IEBC.
While Raila has previously said he helped Hassan clinch the IEBC chairmanship, this did not stop him from crusading for his removal claiming he rigged the last presidential election in favour of Uhuru.
Before then, Raila had also forced the ouster of Samwel Kivuitu and his team at the Electoral Commission of Kenya, accusing them of rigging the 2007 poll in favor of Mwai Kibaki.
The IEBC is at the core of the Kenyan state and President Uhuru has warned against the danger the attacks by the Opposition portend.
“Absence of strong institutions can only result in a failed state. An eventuality I shudder to contemplate yet it is a reality we have witnessed in our region,” he said last month.
In his political career, Raila has sought to portray himself as a champion of democracy and justice but this hides the fact that his main pursuit is to ascend to power. His role in the attempted coup in 1982 best illustrates this.
While his involvement, for which he was detained but spared the hangman’s noose by former president Moi, it was not until 2006 that the official account came out via his authorized biography titled Raila Odinga: An Enigma in Kenya Politics by Nigerian author Babafemi Badejo.
In 2012, when his former aide Miguna Miguna wrote a book, Peeling Back The Mask, that is critical of Raila, senior counsel Paul Muite challenged him to come open on his role in the coup to bring closure to the matter.
“There is some unfinished business about the attempted coup in 1982. I think Kenyans would wish to hear the views of the Prime Minister so that people can be able to properly put into context the democratic credentials, respect for the law and constitutionalism,” he said.
It was not until the next year when he acknowledged his role through he claims to have played a peripheral one.
“…we had been quietly engaged in operations designed to educate and mobilise the people in order to bring about the necessary and desired changes in our society — not through violence but through popular mass action. The full explanation of our efforts to bring about popular change will have to wait for another, freer, time in our country’s history,” he revealed in his autobiography, The Flame of Freedom.
His penchant for destroying institutions can also be seen by the number of political parties he has formed then abandoned.
After failing to wrestle Ford-Kenya from Wamalwa Kijana following the death of his father, Raila formed the National Development Party (NDP) on whose ticket he vied for the presidency in 2007.
Shortly after, he entered into a cooperation arrangement with Moi’s Kanu, which later led to a merger.
However, after being sidelined in the Moi succession matrix he sought to destroy the independence by leading a walkout of several top leaders, including Kalonzo Musyoka, George Saitoti and Joseph Kamotho.
His wars with Kibaki both during the Narc administration and the grand coalition government are a record of history and one of the best illustrations of his thirst for power.
Raila also has a history of seeking to bring down public servants under the guise of fighting corruption.
Those who do not agree with him politically also have a story to tell. Indeed, Kisumu Senator Anyang Nyong’o and his Siaya counterpart James Orengo were only rehabilitated from the political cold after changing tune and pledging loyalty to Raila.
Major Rtd Joseph Kishare