Kenya: Odinga Says Taking Part in Oct 26 Poll Entirely His Choice

Photo: Capital FM
President Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila Odinga.
9 October 2017

Nairobi — NASA leader Raila Odinga says he is free to boycott the October 26 election if he feels that his demands will not be met by the electoral commission.

Odinga, who spoke after a meeting with Kajiado leaders in Nairobi, stated that it is becoming increasingly clear that the irreducible minimums by NASA will not be met, but he was not categorical if he will take part in the poll or not.

"As far as we are concerned, the IEBC has not responded positively to most of the issues we had raised. In as far as the notice is concerned, this is a democratic society and there is what we call freedom of choice. If I choose not to participate in a pre-rigged electoral process it is my democratic right, no court can order me not to do so," he stated.

He spoke soon after President Uhuru Kenyatta said in Mombasa that there is a plan by the NASA leader to boycott the fresh election.

"We hear that he wants to announce that he has removed himself from the elections on the 26th of this month. I do not know what reason he will give. The excuses are not ending and I want to tell him, Kenyans are tired. We want to move forward and I want to tell you if you do not want to participate, step aside and let us move forward," he said.

President Kenyatta said Kenyans want the issue of elections done with once for all and if Odinga is not ready to participate in the poll, he should withdraw as soon as possible.

He criticized the Opposition leader for waiting for so long if his only plan for the fresh presidential election was to withdraw at the last minute.

"Kenyans are tired and want to move forward. If you do not want elections, step aside so that the country can move forward," said the President.

The President said Odinga has been looking for excuses to withdraw from the poll. He criticised him for waiting until more than Sh12 billion has been spent to organise the election before reaching the reported decision to withdraw.

President Kenyatta said he is ready for the election because he is sure that Kenyans will rally behind him as they did in the August 8 election that was nullified by the Supreme Court.

"We know that we won the August 8 election fairly and that is why we are ready for the October 26 election," said the President when he addressed more than 15,000 leaders from the coastal counties who gathered at Serani Grounds, Mombasa.

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