French Embassy drops IEBC talk at last minute after Raila’s name came up


‘Everything was going well until Raila’s name was brought up. They called the embassy and the event was cancelled’

The French Embassy was yesterday put on the spot after abruptly cancelling a public debate to discuss the IEBC impasse.

The debate was to be televised live on KTN yesterday morning but the embassy’s change of heart on Wednesday, at around 6pm, forced the organisers, the Kenya Human Rights Commission under the Kura Yangu Sauti Yangu initiative, to cancel the event.

The event was to take place at the French-owned Alliance Française’s auditorium. Cord leader Raila Odinga, Amani National Congress leader Musalia Mudavadi, Narc Kenya’s Martha Karua, educationist James ole Kiyiapi, former MP Peter Kenneth, Senior Counsel Paul Muite and the IEBC chairman Isaack Hassan were to attend.

Former director of the Committee of Experts on Constitutional Review Ekuru Aukot had also confirmed attendance. The Jubilee government side led by Deputy President William Ruto and National Assembly majority leader Aden Duale declined the invitation.

According to a source at the KHRC, everything was going on well until Raila’s name was mentioned by the organisers as they surveyed the auditorium on Wednesday evening. “They called the embassy and the decision was made that the event be cancelled. They were furious that they had not been informed which VIPs were attending,” he said.

‘We wanted both camps present’

A source said the French embassy was furious Jubilee leaders were not attending the debate which would be televised live on a local station.

“They said that if Jubilee and the IEBC were not attending, then it is better it be cancelled,” the source said. However, Alliance Française executive director Herve Braneyre told the Star the decision was informed by security reasons “because the venue is a sensitive place.”

“We get instructions from the embassy on how to organise events and the cancellation was made because of the failure by the organisers to get people from both sides,” he said.

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