African Press International (API)

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Demos on today as Cord pushes to remove IEBC

Posted by African Press International on May 9, 2016

By JOHN NJAGI
By MAURICE KALUOCH, nation news Kenya

In Summary


Mr Orengo also indicated that the three Cord leaders, Mr Raila Odinga, Mr Kalonzo Musyoka and Mr Moses Wetang’ula, will take part in the protests.

The Cord leaders were to hold the protest on Wednesday last week but postponed it to today in honour of former First Lady Lucy Kibaki, who was laid to rest in Othaya on Saturday.

The last attempt by Cord to storm the IEBC headquarters at Anniversary Towers ended in disarray after police lobbed teargas at the protesters.

Cord leaders on Sunday defied all warnings by the Government and vowed to continue with their planned countrywide protests to kick out electoral commission bosses, setting the stage for a confrontation today.

The Opposition legislators, led by Siaya Senator James Orengo and Suna East MP Junet Mohammed, said that Monday’s demonstrations at the offices of the electoral commission will be peaceful and have the backing of courts.

“Our nationwide protest starts today (Monday) as planned and we urge all our supporters to be peaceful and also urge the police to avoid acts of provocation,” said Mr Mohammed, who read a statement on Cord’s behalf during Sunday’s press conference at Lilian Towers, Nairobi.

Mr Orengo also indicated that the three Cord leaders, Mr Raila Odinga, Mr Kalonzo Musyoka and Mr Moses Wetang’ula, will take part in the protests to occupy the offices of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) despite a High Court order issued last week, barring them from storming the commission’s offices until a case filed in court is heard and determined.

The Cord leaders were to hold the protest on Wednesday last week but postponed it to today in honour of former First Lady Lucy Kibaki, who was laid to rest in Othaya on Saturday.

Sunday, Mr Orengo defended Cord’s right to “demonstrate, picket and hand over petitions” as provided for in the Constitution.

INTIMIDATION

He said the court had no jurisdiction to take away the rights of Opposition supporters to show their dislike for the IEBC.

He later said the court ruling had been misconstrued as it had allowed them to demonstrate so long as they maintained peace and were within “constitutional limitations in enjoyment of those rights”.

Jubilee leaders, including President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy, Mr William Ruto, have accused the Cord leaders of seeking the removal of the IEBC commissioners through street protests yet the law provides for how they can be removed.

In its rejoinder, the Opposition has said that its petition to Parliament had been ignored.

At Sunday’s press conference attended by Cord MPs and supporters, Mr Orengo said the protest to remove the commission bosses was within the law.

He dismissed calls to do it any other way as had been suggested by the President.

He also dismissed the move by the Inspector General of Police, Mr Joseph Boinnet, to discipline police officers attached to the Cord chiefs after some of them were involved in a confrontation with their colleagues during a past protest at the IEBC headquarters in Nairobi.

Mr Boinnet has warned that such officers risked being sacked if they accompany VIPs in “illegal activities”.

Sunday, Mr Orengo said: “Whether they take them away (bodyguards) or not it does not matter. If you look at past protests you will see people like Kibaki, Raila and Matiba went on with protests even without the security. They are trying to create fear in us but we will not be intimidated.”

The last attempt by Cord to storm the IEBC headquarters at Anniversary Towers ended in disarray after police lobbed teargas at the protesters.

Mr Odinga and Mr Wetang’ula had to be scurried away by their bodyguards under a cloud of teargas. At the weekend, Mr Musyoka said one of his bodyguards had been withdrawn over the incident.

IEBC chiefs led by Chairman Issack Hassan have vowed not to leave office and challenged Mr Odinga to give evidence that the commissioned had entered into a pact to rig the 2017 election in favour of Jubilee.

They said they would only resign if Mr Odinga proves his allegation.

Meanwhile, ODM chairman John Mbadi has said the Opposition party will do everything possible to block next year’s elections unless the current electoral commissioners quit office.

Mr Mbadi said they will not only boycott the polls but make sure no voting takes place.

Speaking at Oridi Primary School grounds in Ndhiwa, Homa Bay County during a fundraiser, Mr Mbadi said: “Let the IEBC commissioners know that elections will only take place in 2017 after a new team that has been set up under an inter-parties agreement.”

The Opposition has been calling for the reconstitution of the commission over integrity issues, including allegations that some of its top officials were linked to corruption.

Additional reporting by Maurice Kaluoch

End

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