NASA leader Raila Odinga yesterday made his much awaited statement on its next steps after boycotting the fresh presidential election held on October 26.
In the statement, Raila announced the formation of a People’s Assembly that would seek to govern the country. He refused to recognise President Uhuru Kenyatta’s win terming it a fraud.
Here is the full statement:
“Ladies and gentlemen,
The meaningless exercise, a charade purported to be an election, is now behind us.
Today, we return to the hard but essential task of making elections count and democracy work in Kenya. This is in line with the task we assigned ourselves at the beginning of our current journey; that we be the people who will end electoral fraud not only in Kenya but in all of Africa and be the team that will uproot the evil culture of sham elections with pre-determined outcomes.
Let me first express the NASA’s debt of deep gratitude to all Kenyans who heeded our call to keep off the sham election and let Uhuru Kenyatta be the product of a fraud. By heading NASA’s call, we exposed the so-called tyranny of numbers in Jubilee to be a fraud, the 8-million plus votes Uhuru claimed to have secured in August to be fiction and vote-fixing and manipulation of figures by the IEBC to be real.
We gratefully acknowledge the many messages of solidarity received from pro-democracy activists across the globe who have expressed a desire to stand with Kenyans in our quest for electoral justice. We have deeply appreciated and have been immensely inspired by these solidarity messages.
The historical developments which culminated in our call for poll boycott and to add a national resistance wing to NASA formation have been canvassed adequately in our earlier statements. We will mention this context, but only briefly.
Since the Supreme Court annulled the presidential election, our country became deeply divided on the question of holding free, fair and credible election. This is shocking because no society that calls itself a democracy should be divided on the need for free, fair and credible elections.
A sham election that must not be allowed to stand
On 26th October, the IEBC at the behest of the Jubilee candidates defied the Court, reason, national and international public opinion and their own assessment as revealed by ex-Commissioner Roselyn Akombe and confirmed by Chairman Wafula Chebukati, and conducted a sham election.
We consistently warned that this election was going to be much worse than the previous one. It came to pass. The whole world witnessed that there was no election. The international media has called it “a charade”, a “sham”, “preposterously flawed”, “a historic mistake”, among other things. Even after the NASA’s withdrawal, the local media projected on their television screens results pitting Uhuru Kenyatta and NASA’s Raila Odinga just as they did with the now famously discredited “statistics” of the August 8 election. It seems that they were unable to come up with a new script.
The IEBC was not able to produce a believable voter turnout figure, even though the KIEMS kits are programmed to transmit the same every two hours. The Chairman initially announced a figure of 48 percent which translates to 9.4 million but on realizing how preposterous that was, revised it downwards to 6.55 million which translates to 33 percent. Many observers find even this figure optimistic. IEBC then embarked on manufacturing turn out to show that Uhuru Kenyatta has popular mandate.
The incident where Jubilee MP Alice Wahome physically molested a returning officer for transmitting election results “without her input” was widely reported, complete with footage. What input did the MP want to add in an election result where there was no contest? It can only be to inflate the voter turnout. We have evidence that such “inputs” were provided in several Jubilee strongholds.
Kenyans also witnessed clear indications that IEBC was never in charge of this so-called election. Instead of IEBC giving regular updates as it had promised, our television news got filled with county commissioners, police commanders and Jubilee politicians giving information on the voting process, movement of materials and other aspects of the process that IEBC ought to have been in charge of.
This is in addition to the shambolic organisation witnessed at the Bomas National Tallying Centre on Tuesday and Wednesday, where commissioners and the chairman hardly ever met, and in fact never communicated any joint position to the media or observers. IEBC commissioners got deadlocked on the figures to assign to President Uhuru Kenyatta, in light of the low voter turnout that all Kenyans and indeed the whole world witnessed.
To cut short the long story of a sham and fraudulent exercise, we reiterate that this election must not stand. If allowed to stand, it will make a complete mockery of elections and might well be the end of the ballot as a means of instituting government in Kenya. It will completely destroy public confidence in the vote. Reasonable people will not turn out to vote in elections with pre-determined outcomes. Elections will be become coronation rituals for an imperial presidency.
The sham election will render useless the historic Supreme Court ruling that annulled the August 8 presidential election. On the eve of the election, we saw the ominous signs of Uhuru’s threat to “fix the problem in the Supreme Court” when the court failed to raise a quorum to hear a case challenging the legality of the election, on account of willful abstention of some and intimidation of other judges, including the shooting of the Deputy Chief Justice’s security detail the previous evening. The August 8 election was already used to muster a fraudulent parliamentary majority. Both Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto have stated publicly that they intend to use this majority to make constitutional changes. Parliament is on its way to becoming a rubber stamp of the Executive as it was in KANU’s one party state.
The regressive amendment to the election law has now come to force, effectively emasculating the IEBC and the Supreme Court. If this sham election is allowed to stand, what will stop the regime from conducing sham referenda to remove the constitutional provisions that they do not like? Nothing. They will have achieved every despot’s dream which, in the famous words of Lord Hewart of Bury is “to subordinate Parliament, to evade the Courts, and to render the will, or the caprice, of the Executive unfettered and supreme”.
The sham election portends a president who is in office unconstitutionally. We have a Constitution with unambiguous provisions on the standards that elections must fulfill. The same Constitution states that the power can only be exercised by DEMOCRATICALLY elected leaders.
A president who is elected in an election that does not comply with the constitution cannot legitimately and constitutionally exercise authority on behalf of the people. If the election is allowed to stand, the highest office in the land will be occupied by a person who has usurped power.
We in NASA are resolute that this sham election cannot and will not be allowed to stand. We will not allow two megalomaniacs to destroy the dream of freedom and democracy that generations have sacrificed and worked so hard for. We shall see to it that we conduct a free, fair and credible presidential election as ordered by the Supreme Court.
NASA’s position on a national dialogue
A national dialogue is being called for from many quarters. NASA is for dialogue. All political differences are resolved through dialogue. NASA has actively pursued dialogue with the IEBC on the reforms required to hold a free, fair and credible elections. The engagement was in vain. We put forward the “irreducible minimum” reforms for free and fair elections. No one challenged them. The bone of contention was that they could not be done within the 60 day window for the fresh election. We leave it to those who argued that bora uchaguzi (any election will do) to mull over what good the farcical election has done.
Before engaging in dialogue, we must also be clear what differences we are sitting down to resolve. Suggestions have been made that what is needed is a compromise between Jubilee and NASA. There are even those who see the crisis as nothing more than a personal feud between Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila Odinga that could be resolved by private arrangement. This view is mistaken.
The political crisis we are in is about free and fair elections specifically and fundamentally about democracy, constitutionalism and the rule of law. The Supreme Court ordered a repeat election held in compliance with the constitution and the law. The order has not been complied with. It must be. It is in our best interest that we do so sooner rather than later.
Our programme of action
National resistance campaign
As we announced last week, NASA has two organs: the Coalition’s parliamentary party (PP) and the National Resistance Movement. The resistance movement shall be responsible for implementing a vigorous positive political action programme that includes economic boycotts, peaceful processions picketing and other legitimate protests. If there is no justice for the people, let there be no peace for the government.
Governments are not above constitutions. And constitutions are not above the people. The people retain ownership of sovereign power. This is the reason why all progressive constitutions, the people reserve the right to exercise their sovereignty directly. The fate of all governments that usurp and abuse power is to fall. We have obligated ourselves to respect, obey and defend our Constitution. We are now compelled by this obligation to chart our way back to democracy, constitutionalism and the rule law.
We announce today the establishment of a People’s Assembly. The People’s Assembly is the vehicle through which we will exercise the solemn duty of restoring democracy, constitutionalism and the rule of law. The People’s Assembly will be a broad based forum consisting of elected leaders and the leadership of other sectors of society in particular workers, civil society, religious leaders, women, youth and economic interest groups.
We will be announcing the date and programme of the Assembly’s inaugural convention in the coming days. The People’s Assembly will continue to exist until a legitimate presidency is restored.
As part of the People’s Assembly, NASA is forming a Task Force to look into the systemic governance weaknesses that have precipitated the unfolding political crisis, including but not limited to;
i. The systemic continuing failure of electoral bodies, and the electoral system in general
ii. Performance of national security organs and the abuse thereof by the Executive.
iii. The political architecture and the structure of the Executive and Parliament in particular.
iv. Protection and safeguarding devolution.
v. Exclusion and discrimination in the allocation or distribution of public resources.
vi. The continued inability of the State, and our society in general, to deal with the root causes of political strife in particular poverty, unemployment, extreme inequality, economic marginalization and historical grievances.
We anticipate that the Task Force recommendations will include constitutional amendments that will be presented to the People’s Assembly for adoption, and thereafter to the County Assemblies for ratification.
We call upon all County Assemblies to pass resolutions supporting the establishment of the People’s Assembly.
Defence of the right to peaceful protest
Peaceful protest is an inalienable political right, is one of the most important freedoms that we have secured for ourselves in our 2010 Constitution. “Every person has a right, peaceably and unarmed, to assemble, to demonstrate, to picket and to present petitions to public authorities” (Art.37).
Since the announcement of the August 8 election, the Jubilee government has sought to criminalize dissent. Over 60 Kenyans including children have died needless deaths and many more maimed at the hands of would be despots seeking to impose their will on the people. A system of government where dissent is criminalized has a name— it is called a totalitarian state.
We are often reminded that the eternal 28vigilance is the price we must pay for liberty. So, we will guard our right to dissent by exercising it. We will continue to assemble, to demonstrate, to picket and to present petition to public authorities as often as we choose.
God Bless Kenya.