28 October 2017

Kenya: Raila Odinga - Uhuru Kenyatta Won't Have It Easy After Repeat Poll

Photo: Evans Habil/Daily Nation
National Super Alliance leader Raila Odinga .

National Super Alliance (Nasa) leader Raila Odinga now says he can only dialogue with President Uhuru Kenyatta on holding fresh elections in 90 days and nothing else.

Because Mr Kenyatta shunned dialogue before Thursday's repeat poll, Mr Odinga holds that there is little else left to talk about.

TURNOUT

In an interview with CNN on Friday, Mr Odinga said that even if Mr Kenyatta is announced the winner after Thursday's repeat election, the Jubilee Party leader will not have it easy ruling Kenya.

The opposition leader also advised Mr Kenyatta to resign because the "low" voter turnout in Thursday's poll.

The election was "a vote of no confidence", he says.

Asked whether his plan to form a national resistance movement was a way of goading Mr Kenyatta's government into bloodletting, Mr Odinga said the activities the movement plans to wage are provided for in the Constitution.

"As you know, our Constitution allows for picketing, for striking, for peaceful processions, for protesting and so on, and for boycott. So, we have several other means which are legal and constitutional at our disposal, which we will bring into play to put pressure on this government," he said.

Below is a transcript of the interview.

CNN: What happens on the next week when results are counted, when election results are possibly announced? They're likely to give Mr Kenyatta presidency because of this boycott. How will you and your supporters react?

Mr Odinga: This is just a sham, because it has basically removed the lid off the can for what Mr Kenyatta has been claiming; because hardly 25 percent of the people turned up to vote yesterday (Thursday).

They are now trying to doctor the figures to increase it.

But according to the KIEMS kits, which were used to biometrically identify the voters, only 3.5 million people participated in the voting yesterday.

That is just about 20 per cent of the total registered voters.

That shows, basically, that the people don't have confidence.

It is a vote of no confidence in the government of President Kenyatta.

And if I were him, and I know that in most democracies, he would actually resign or step aside.

CNN: If that doesn't happen and he's announced president again, how will you and your supporters react? What is it going to look like in Kenya in a week's time when those results are announced?

Mr Odinga: We've said our Constitution in article one says that if the government imposes itself on the people, the people have a right to self-determination.

People have also a right to disobeying the orders coming from such a government.

CNN: Do you see more street protests and more violence?

Mr Odinga: No. We're not going to go for violent confrontation with government.

We're going to do peaceful resistance, not through demonstrations but through other methods that we're going to announce on Monday.

On Monday, we are going to announce a series of measures that we'll take in order to bring pressure on this government to step aside.

CNN: You boycotted the election, it went ahead without you. Some of your critics might suggest you've been outplayed; that this was a political miscalculation.

Mr Odinga: It was not because the ground was not level.

We demanded of the IEBC to level the playing field so that we don't go for the repeat of what happened on August 8.

They refused.

So, we had therefore no other choice but to pull out of this exercise because it would amount to doing the same thing the same way and expecting a different result, and we knew that would not happen.

It was already pre-determined, pre-arranged, pre-rigged electoral process, and we said it would be a waste of time and a waste of people's limited resourced.

CNN: You're going to be announcing some sort of measures on Monday. Why wait till Monday? And you've also said, I understand, that your party is going to become a resistance movement, not a political party. What does that mean for ordinary Kenyans?

Mr Odinga: That is actually being misunderstood.

We have our alliance, which is called the National Super Alliance, it has remained a super alliance.

It has got branches: One, we've got a parliamentary wing. As you know, we have got members of the National Assembly and members of the Senate.

Now, we are creating another wing which is the resistance movement.

This is basically going to be involved in civil disobedience, civil resistance not an armed resistance.

We are going to use all the legal and constitutional means to put pressure on this government to do what we wanted to do.

CNN: Aren't you, then, setting up a confrontation, again the possibility of direct confrontation. You said it is not an armed resistance but many people would submit that the government of Uhuru Kenyatta will see it as that?

Mr Odinga: Certainly not.

We are going to use the legal means.

As you know, our Constitution allows for picketing, for striking, for peaceful processions, for protesting and so on, and for boycott.

So, we have several other means which are legal and constitutional at our disposal, which we will bring into play to put pressure on this government.

CNN: Many ordinary Kenyans are tired, there is voter fatigue, they want jobs, they wanna go back to their ordinary lives and they are caught up in this swirl of political crisis that seems never-ending, many of them said to me. Mr Odinga, many people have also said they feel like the political leaders, both you and other leaders, are playing with ordinary Kenyans; that you're setting up ordinary Kenyans to really feel the brunt of possible more violence.

Mr Odinga: The ordinary Kenyans are actually very, very tired of this regime, a regime that is discriminating against them on the basis of their ethnicity; a regime that is practising corruption; which has actually messed up the economy of the country.

The cost of living is so high and unaffordable for many Kenyans.

Unemployment is running at 40 per cent particularly among the youth.

The womenfolk are not feeling that they are properly integrated in society.

So, these are the reasons why the Kenyans want change, and the language that Kenyans are talking about, every other Kenyan you meet will tell you, 'We want change; we are tired.'

That's the reason why our movement is relevant to the people because we are championing the cause of a majority of the Kenyan people.

CNN: Uhuru Kenyatta suggested that you two talk; that he's offered up a willingness to have these discussions. Would you?

Mr Odinga: Well, we had suggested talking before the polls and they rejected it.

Instead, they are saying that we are looking for the half-a-loaf; in other words we were begging for inclusion in their government.

We said, 'No, we really want to agree on the ground rules for these elections.'

And they refused to talk to us.

We have always said that we're always ready for dialogue.

But right now we're saying [that] what we're ready to talk about is how another proper election can be held within the next 90 days.

That is the only thing that we are ready to talk about.

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