Jubilee digs in as Nasa rejects repeat presidential poll date

A war of words has erupted between the government and the Opposition after the electoral commission picked October 17 as the date for repeat presidential poll.

The National Super Alliance (Nasa) has rejected the date saying it was not ready to participate in the election without legal and constitutional changes to guarantee free and fair poll.

The Opposition wants Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) to conduct polls on October 24 or 31.

“There will be no election on October 17 because the IEBC did not consult us. They only consulted Jubilee,” Nasa principal and presidential candidate Raila Odinga told journalists at the Wilson Airport in Nairobi.

The IEBC communicated its decision on the new date on Monday evening, just three days after the Supreme Court annulled President Uhuru Kenyatta’s win.

Jubilee lawmakers have, however, asked Mr Odinga to make good his threat to boycott the repeat presidential election saying voters will simply confirm the election of Mr Kenyatta.

The 16 legislators, led by Elgeyo Marakwet Senator Kipchumba Murkomen (above), said the Constitution does not require the participation of Mr Odinga, Nasa presidential candidate, in the poll that was ordered by the Supreme Court last Friday.

The Supreme Court upheld an election petition filed by Nasa and annulled the declaration of Mr Kenyatta as President-elect following the August 8 presidential election results.

“We are ready and our competitors don’t have to participate in those elections. We will be happy if they don’t participate as we will win the election unopposed. Kenyans should remain calm,” said Mr Murkomen.

The legislators asked Nasa to stop undermining independent institutions including the IEBC but work towards helping the commission deliver credible elections. But the Nasa team remained adamant saying hours before the IEBC announced the date, Education secretary Fred Matiang’i had addressed the media and proposed that the date should be on October 17.

“I think you can tell from these developments who is pressing the button here,” said Nasa principal Moses Wetang’ula on Tuesday.

“We know that IEBC don’t work under the direction of anybody. They have given us the date of October 17 and we are ready as Jubilee for repeat elections,” Mr Murkomen said at a press conference at Parliament Buildings.

Jubilee opposed any move to push examination calendar to pave the way for elections, saying it would affect Class 8 and Form Four examination candidates.

“We are concerned by comments of Mr Odinga that the exams can be moved for two weeks and our children will not die,” said the Senator.