Raila tells supporters not to protest during Oct 26 poll
NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 24 – Opposition leader Raila Odinga has denied claims that he has instructed supporters of the National Super Alliance (NASA) to hold demonstrations during the fresh presidential election on Thursday.
In an exclusive interview with BBC Africa on Tuesday, Odinga said the Opposition alliance had only urged its supporters to keep off from polling stations on Election Day.
“We’ve not told people to demonstrate on the polling day. We’ve not said that at all; we told people to stay away,” the NASA presidential candidate told BBC.
Odinga accused the ruling Jubilee Party of attempting to intimidate Opposition supporters insisting that he shall not be cowed to participate in what he has termed as a sham election.
“There are two forces here; those who want to go on with a sham election irrespective of the consequences and those who are saying no, it is not right,” he said during the interview.
Odinga’s remarks came barely hours after he held a rally in Kisii on Monday where he led Opposition leaders drawn from Kisii and Nyamira in declaring that there shall be no elections conducted in the two counties.
During the rally, Odinga took a swipe at a statement issued by foreign envoys warning politicians against inciting supporters to attack Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) staff saying such acts would be undemocratic.
“Attacks on IEBC must stop, no one is obliged to stand for office or to vote if they don’t wish to,” United States Ambassador Robert Godec stated in a statement backed by twenty foreign envoys.
“No one should use violence or intimidation to disrupt the right of others to vote or to participate in a poll. Doing so is profoundly undemocratic and leaders must tell their supporters to refrain from such acts,” he added.
Only recently, NASA changed its clarion call from “No Reforms No Elections” to “October No Elections” after affirming its position on the withdrawal of Odinga’s candidature in this week’s election.
IEBC has however indicated that it would proceed with the election as planned with the last batch of ballot papers for the remaining 14 counties expected in the country on Tuesday evening.
Similar consignments arrived at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport on Saturday and Monday.
The government has also given assurances that all who turn out to vote will be protected, urging those who intend to boycott the Thursday election to do so respectfully.
While meeting regional security chiefs and county commanders at the Kenya School of Government on Monday, Acting Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiangi insisted that security officers shall be firm in ensuring that order is maintained on Election Day.
The State also charged Senator Fred Outa (Kisumu) and former Deputy Governor Ruth Odinga with disruption of IEBC activities, theft and damage of property.
The two led a crowd of youths who disrupted training of election officials in Kisumu last week.