Raila says Nasa will not boycott polls
National Super Alliance (Nasa) leader Raila Odinga has said the opposition will not boycott the repeat presidential poll but insisted they will participate only after the electoral commission addresses a raft of demands they have made.
Mr Odinga stated that the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) is not able to conduct the October 17 poll as currently constituted.
He said in an interview with KTN on Tuesday night that for the election to be transparent, their demands must be addressed.
“We are not boycotting the election. We said we want to participate but under certain conditions that will ensure the election will be free, fair and credible,” Mr Odinga said.
“An election requires contest between parties. We want to go to an election when the playing field is level. Last time it was not and the evidence we produced in court was enormous. We are not ready to go back to a charade and would rather have no election,” he added.
Nasa had on Tuesday pegged its participation in the repeat elections on the sacking of IEBC chief executive Ezra Chiloba.
In the interview, Mr Odinga said should they not participate, the election will be “a Jubilee affair” but added there is sufficient time for IEBC to make proper preparations for the poll.
Asked if there is a possibility of a political settlement if no repeat election is held, the Nasa flag bearer said he was not interested in a unity government as claimed by Jubilee leaders.
“We don’t want a nusu mkate government. We know we will win in the elections if they are held in a transparent manner. We don’t want to share.
“And if we lose fairly we will accept the results but we don’t to go to an election where the referee is also a player in the field, we want a neutral one,” Mr Odinga said.
The former prime minister also declined to comment on whether he would call for mass demonstrations if IEBC does not address their concerns saying “we will deal with that when time comes.
Among the demands by Nasa in a nine-page agenda are the resignation of Mr Chiloba and other senior staff as well as the procuring of ballot services from another firm apart from Al Ghurair, which was contracted by the commission in the bungled August 8 presidential poll.
Mr Odinga noted it is foolhardy for the commission to fail to comply with directions issued by the Supreme Court in its ruling that overturned the presidential election saying it did not follow the law in conducting it.
Concerns raised in a memo to Mr Chiloba by Mr Chebukati, Mr Odinga said, are similar to those they have made and therefore the need to expeditiously address them.
Failure to do so, he warned, is likely to lead in voter apathy in subsequent election.
“Mr Chebukati’s memo basically agrees with what we are taking to court because all those issues we have raised them. The chairman further talked of others like the satellite phones that never functioned.
These grave issues have not been addressed,” said Mr Odinga.
But in a communication on Tuesday, IEBC announced that the Dubai based firm Al Ghurair will still print ballot papers as there was a framework agreement between them.
The commission also stated that Mr Chiloba will make administrative arrangements for the operationalization of the new team managing the fresh poll.
It has however approved Nasa’s request for an audit of its servers.
Nasa has announced it will move to court this week to seek the prosecution of top election officials whom it accuses of bungling the August 8 presidential poll.
The officials Nasa wants prosecuted include chief executive officer Ezra Chiloba, his deputy Betty Nyabuto-Sungura, elections director Immaculate Kassait, ICT head James Muhati and head of legal Services Praxedes Tororey.