Uhuru to Raila: We won fair and square

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UHURU+1605lPresident Uhuru Kenyatta Friday waded into the debate over the fate of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) saying elections were over and Kenyans had moved on.

The President said whatever challenges to the election outcome had been dealt with and concluded by the Supreme court and that there was no point of continuing discussions on the fate of the electoral body.

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He also sent the strongest signals yet that he would not yield to Cord leader Raila Odinga’s calls for national dialogue.

Speaking during a forum with officials of the Kenya Private Sector Alliance at State House, Nairobi, the President ruled out meeting the Opposition, saying there were institutions for channelling issues.

“Hiyo haiwezekani. (It is not possible). I want to be very clear so that when they say I have refused… What is the agenda?”

He said he welcomed dialogue with anybody, but only if it is on a matter that will move the country forward.

“But when somebody comes and say national dialogue is about discussing IEBC what do I discuss about IEBC? IEBC did what it did. And the courts did what they did. What do I have to discuss about that?”

His statement was in response to Cord leadership’s call for the disbandment of the commission. They want it constituted before the next General Election in four years.

“IEBC did what they did and the courts did what they did. Why should someone stand somewhere and say they want dialogue on the IEBC? That is impossible,” President Kenyatta said.

Cord leader Raila Odinga lost the race for the Presidency to Mr Kenyatta in last year’s General Election. His petition was dismissed by the Supreme Court and is now leading the calls to disband the commission.

Siaya Senator James Orengo has even suggested that a foreigner should be named to lead the electoral body.

President Kenyatta said Cord should take issues about the electoral commission to Parliament. Jubilee has a majority in both the National Assembly and Senate.

Similar protests by Mr Odinga after the 2007 General Election led to the disbandment of the then Electoral Commission of Kenya and creation of the IEBC in a bi-partisan approach.

President Kenyatta heads to Nyanza saturday for the burial of Rongo MP Dalmas Otieno’s daughter, two days after Mr Odinga turned down his invitation to State House for a cup of tea.

This is the second time he is visiting the region since his election as President. The first was during the funeral of the former Kenya National Union of Teachers(KNUT) boss David Osiany immediately after the 2013 elections.

The trip to Mr Odinga’s Nyanza stronghold takes place amidist calls by Cord for national dialogue. It is expected that the President will use the Rongo burial to respond to the calls for talks after Mr Odinga turned down his invitation ’to State House for a cup of tea.

FUNERAL

The burial of Ms Eflyne Nereah Otieno, who was an employee of the Geothermal Development Company, will be held at in Kangeso Village, Migori County.

Mr Kenyatta is also expected to drum up support for the Jubilee coalition in Migori and later in Nyamira and Kisii counties on Monday.

The President will be in Gusii only two days after Deputy President William Ruto, visited the region, where he cautioned against planned mass action by the Opposition.

On Monday, the President will lead celebrations to mark the 80th anniversary of Kisii High School.

The former Prime Minister has indicated that he will not attend the Rongo burial, which takes place when Mr Otieno and Mr Odinga have disagreed over party elections.

Though Mr Otieno is an ODM MP, he is close to President Kenyatta, who appointed him as the Kenyan envoy in the South Sudan peace talks.

The Rongo MP has also hosted Mr Ruto for a fund raising in aid of a church in Ranen and his party’s members started questioning his loyalty to Mr Odinga.

Mr Otieno was criticised by Mr Odinga’s supporters when he declared that he was forming a new party to rival ODM. That was after he fell out with the ODM leader, whom he accused of dictatorship in the party.

Mr Odinga defended himself by saying the Rongo MP had sought his endorsement for the position of Vice-Chairman in the Orange party’s elections.

“I told him that delegates will decide the team that will steer ODM,” Mr Odinga said in February when the party polls were due. Kisumu West MP Olago Aluoch (Ford-K) told the Rongo MP to tread carefully as someone could petition the courts to declare his seat vacant for allegedly breaching the Political Parties Act.

The politics of Migori County gubernatorial by-election, which is before the Supreme Court, is expected to feature as well this weekend.

When Mr Odinga was away in the US, Governor Zachary Okoth Obado, who has been Mr Ruto’s ally, snatched a microphone from Siaya Senator James Orengo when he raised concern whether the county was behind Cord or Jubilee .

That was after Mr Otieno and Mr Obado declared they would work with Jubilee and support its agenda in the county.

The death of the Rongo MP’s daughter comes four years after his son was killed in bizarre helicopter crash in the US in May, 2008. Mr Isaiah Otieno was on his way to the post office to mail letters to his family in Kenya when the helicopter crash-landed and killed him.

nation.co.ke

President Kenyatta addresses a press conference at State House. President Uhuru Kenyatta Friday waded into the debate over the fate of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) saying elections were over and Kenyans had moved on. PHOTO | SALATON NJAU

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