31 October 2017

Kenya: Raila Reveals Nasa Strategy to Beat Jubilee

Photo: Dennis Onsongo/The Nation
Nasa leader Raila Odinga addresses a press conference at Okoa Kenya office in Nairobi on October 31, 2017.

The National Super Alliance on Tuesday declared it would not recognise President Uhuru Kenyatta's re-election and announced the formation of a people's assembly to start preparing for fresh polls.

Leader Raila Odinga said the assembly to comprise elected leaders and key players from the civil society, trade unions and youths, will also push for amendments to the Constitution to ensure that Kenya is more democratic, adding that he is ready for dialogue over the political stalemate facing the country.

He said the coalition's resistance wing -- the National Resistance Movement -- will soon announce dates for peaceful protests and boycotts in defiance to the Jubilee administration, which he said is in office illegally.


He spoke as the protestant churches called for the creation of the post of prime minister, two deputies and official opposition leader to accommodate more communities in leadership positions to make the political system more inclusive.

Announcing his way forward after last week's repeat elections, a race from which he withdrew, Mr Odinga said he would continue fighting for democracy, credible elections and the rule of law.

"The political crisis facing the country is about free and fair elections specifically and fundamentally about democracy, constitutionalism and the rule of law," he said at Okoa Kenya offices in Nairobi, where he was accompanied by Nasa co-principal Musalia Mudavadi and other leaders.


On the eve of the repeat elections, Mr Odinga announced the formation of a resistance wing of the coalition to carry out economic boycotts, peaceful processions, picketing and other forms of protests as part of civil disobedience.

"We will be announcing the date and programme of the assembly's inaugural convention in the coming days.

"The people's assembly will continue to exist until a legitimate presidency is restored," he said and announced that the coalition will form a task force to look into the systemic governance weaknesses that have precipitated the political crisis.


The scope of the task force will include looking at systemic continuing failure of electoral bodies and the electoral system in general, performance of national security organs and abuse of power by the national executive, the political architecture and the structure of the Executive and Parliament, the protection and safeguarding of devolution, exclusion and discrimination in the allocation of public resources and the continued inability of the State, and the society to deal with the root causes of political strife in particular poverty, unemployment, inequality, economic marginalisation and historical grievances.

"We anticipate that the task force recommendations will include constitutional amendments that will be presented to the people's assembly for adoption and thereafter to the county assemblies for ratification," he said.

"Nasa has actively pursued dialogue with the IEBC on the reforms required to hold a free, fair and credible elections.

"The engagement was in vain. We put forward the "irreducible minimum" reforms for free and fair elections. No one challenged them.

"The bone of contention was that they could not be done within the 60-day window for the fresh election. We leave it to those who argued that any election will do to mull over what good the farcical election has done," he said.


Mr Odinga further declared that Nasa will continue to assemble, demonstrate, picket and present petitions to public authorities, accusing the Jubilee government of criminalising dissent since the nullification of the August 8 election by the Supreme Court.

Mr Odinga reiterated that Nasa would not let President Kenyatta's re-election stand because doing so would be a mockery of elections and might spell the end of the ballot as a means of creating governments in Kenya.

"We in Nasa are resolute that this sham election cannot and will not be allowed to stand.

"We will not allow two megalomaniacs to destroy the dream of freedom and democracy that generations have sacrificed and worked so hard for.

"We shall see to it that we conduct a free, fair and credible presidential election as ordered by the Supreme Court," he said.


Separately, the National Council of Churches of Kenya said the positions of PM, deputy PM and opposition leader -- to be created through Parliament in a referendum -- would help promote inclusivity and ownership of the government.

Secretary-general Canon Peter Karanja called for national dialogue between President Kenyatta and Mr Odinga to reduce ethnic tensions witnessed during the August 8 and October 26 elections.

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