19 October 2017

Kenya: Raila Odinga to Meet Wafula Chebukati Despite Poll Pull-Out

Photo: Tonny Omondi/The Nation
Nasa leader Raila Odinga addresses his supporters at a rally.

National Super Alliance (Nasa) leader Raila Odinga will, after all, meet the electoral commission today.

Mr Odinga had earlier told Nation that he would not attend today's meeting between the commission and seven presidential candidates.

VENUE

The meeting was called by Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) Chairman Wafula Chebukati last night.

It will be held at the Serena Hotel in the capital Nairobi from 2.30 pm.

Mr Odinga's spokesman Dennis Onyango sent a short text message to Nation saying "we have decided to go and meet Chebukati."

The message did not indicate whether Mr Odinga would meet the chairman alongside the other seven presidential candidates or on his own.

It did not also indicate the time and venue of his meeting with Mr Chebukati.

It was not immediately clear what prompted the sudden change of heart given that Mr Odinga had moments earlier categorically stated that he has no business attending a meeting to discuss an election he will not participate in.

CHEBUKATI

"Chebukati has said he cannot guarantee credible elections but he is proceeding with it anyway. Nasa said the election cannot be credible and withdrew from the contest. Why would Raila attend a meeting for an election he is not participating in?" said Mr Onyango.

"With or without invitation, meeting IEBC about elections is not on our agenda," he added.

The Nation learnt that Mr Odinga's office had not received Mr Chebukati's invitation as of Thursday morning.

In his invitation letter, Mr Chebukati had stated; "in my capacity as the Chairperson of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries commission and the Nation Returning Officer, I observe that it is necessary to have a consultative meeting between yourselves and your running mates under the chairmanship of the Commission as our country gears up for the fresh presidential election. Indeed, the Commission remains committed to deliver a free, fair and credible election and I observe that the consultative meeting on the preparations and the conduct of the fresh election is pre-emptory towards that end."

JIRONGO

He added: "I further write and ask that you conscientiously refrain and also refrain your supporters and/or agents before, during or after the meeting, from any utterances, actions and/or inactions that may negate the value of the consultative meeting."

It was copied to Mr Odinga, President Kenyatta, Dr Ekuru Aukot, Abduba Dida, Joseph Nyagah, Prof Michael Wainaina and Dr Japheth Kaluyu.

It was not, however, copied to the eighth presidential candidate during the August 8 election Cyrus Jirongo, who has since been declared bankrupt.

Mr Jirongo was not invited yet reports from Dubai indicate he is still on the ballot paper after he appealed the court decision.

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