Uhuru explains what will happen in areas where people won’t vote
President Uhuru Kenyatta on Sunday said the repeat election set for this coming Thursday will go on as planned even as the opposition insists the polls will not take place.
In an exclusive interview with Citizen TV on Sunday night, Kenyatta was questioned on the legitimacy of the October 26 election considering some regions may not vote, yet the constitution dictates that a president must be elected in an election held in each of the 290 constituencies.
The president explained that the electoral commission will follow the law by providing an opportunity for every registered voter to take part in the election, hence, regions where no vote is cast, the returning officers will file zero votes.
“So long as the returning officer says no one participated, that is a Kenyan exercising their democratic right (not to vote),” he said, expressing confidence that the poll will meet the constitutional threshold.
Nonetheless, opinion remains divided with some political pundits arguing that the election will not meet the credibility threshold if some regions opt out and fail to participate.
Here are six other key issues the President addressed in the interview with Anne Kiguta.
Holding talks with Raila
President Kenyatta said he will not hold talks with his arch rival, Raila Odinga ahead of the repeat election that is two days away.
Amid the ongoing rhetoric and grandstanding among the two major political sides, there have been calls for President Kenyatta and Mr Odinga to hold talks in a bid to quell the rising political tensions that have left the country on tenterhooks.
However, Kenyatta said he can only hold talks with the National Super Alliance (NASA) presidential candidate after the October 26 election.
He said it is now up to the electorate to exercise their democratic right by deciding who they want to lead the country, then talks can be held later.
In four words, he said: “choose first, talk later”.
Security on October 26
On fears that chaos and violence may erupt on election day, President Kenyatta assured that security agencies have been well deployed to ensure that those who intend to vote, do so without being attacked or their lives being endangered.
He said the opposition supporters have the freedom to boycott the polls, but should not infringe on the rights of those willing to participate in the election.
The NASA coalition has vowed to hold countrywide demonstrations on October 26, vowing that there will be no election on Thursday.
Deployment of military to opposition strongholds
President Kenyatta refuted claims that the government intends to deploy military personnel in certain regions during the repeat election. He termed the claims as attempts by the opposition to create fear and anxiety ahead of the polls.
Police brutality during NASA anti-IEBC demos
After the recent incidences of persons being shot and others brutalised during opposition-led protests against the electoral commission, the president said the police crackdown targeted “rioters and not protesters”.
“Police have not cracked down on protesters, they have cracked down on rioters. There is a big difference between a peaceful demonstrator and a rioter who steals, destroys goods and robs our women going about their businesses,” Uhuru explained.
He said those stoning cars, looting, destroying property and endangering the lives of other Kenyans were the victims of police wrath.
Holding talks with IEBC
In the interview held at State House, Nairobi, President Kenyatta indicated there is no need for joint talks with the electoral commission since the government has provided all the necessary resources and support the commission may need to conduct the election.
He added that his Jubilee Party has no demands or preconditions they want fulfilled prior to the election, hence, the electoral team should go ahead and prepare for the fresh election.
Fears of Chebukati’s resignation
Uhuru declined to comment on the possibility of IEBC Chairman Wafula Chebukati throwing in the towel before the fresh election is held. He stated that the government had provided the IEBC boss with the support he may need in conducting the election.