NASA presidential candidate Raila Odinga has dispelled rumuors that he would hand over the ticket to another Opposition candidate to vie in the fresh election he wants held within 90 days.
Speaking at Chatham House in London, Raila, who announced on Tuesday he was withdrawing from the October 26 fresh poll scheduled by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), said it is not a question of passing on the baton since the system will still not allow a NASA candidate to win.
There has been speculation that Raila intends to retire and allow his running mate Kalonzo Musyoka to take on President Uhuru Kenyatta with Amani Coalition’s Musalia Mudavadi deputising him. “It is not a question of passing on the baton because the system would not allow a new NASA leader to win either,” he said.
He claimed the government is not serious about the October 26 rerun, accusing Jubilee of changing the rules of the game mid-way and withdrawing his and Kalonzo’s security detail. He added the government does not want him to run.
As he spoke, Jubilee supporters held demonstrations outside demanding that he returns home to take part in the election. “Raila don’t run away from democracy, go back to the election,” one placard read.
In his speech, Raila accused IEBC of stonewalling deliberations on reforms that need to be undertaken to ensure a credible, free and fair election, saying the new election will be as corruptly conducted as the August 8 one and its outcome will in no way represent will of Kenyans.
He hit out at the stance the United States and European countries have taken with regard to elections in Kenya this year, lamenting that security and stability are now the priorities of the West, rather than accountability and good governance.
He added there are pragmatic reasons to preserve Kenya’s democracy and stability so that it can be the region’s linchpin for peace.
On the ongoing street protests organised by Nasa, which claimed more lives in Kisumu and Bondo Friday, Raila said the Constitution guarantees right to protest and dismissed the ban imposed by Acting Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i, saying the government has no power to outlaw them.
He denied there was violence in Kenya, attributing the deaths witnessed to state-sponsored thuggery.
In a separate interview with Citizen TV’s Hussein Mohammed, which will be aired Friday night, Raila also made it clear there is no requirement for him to sign Form 24A to actualise his boycott of the fresh election as demanded by IEBC.
Meanwhile, President Uhuru Kenyatta resigned the Supplementary Budget Bill paving the way for the release of Ksh 12 billion to IEBC for the conduct of the October 26 poll.
Uhuru also revealed he had received the Election Law (Amendments) Bill from Parliament and was scrutinising it according to the law, which provides for a 14-day window within which he should assent to it.
Earlier, he had said he would sign the Bill into law immediately it lands on his desk.
Separately, IEBC Commissioner Roselyne Akombe said the agency is finalising its preparations with the printing of ballot papers commencing on Sunday.
The commission has also overhauled its systems including gazetting new returning and presiding officers to replace those who made mistakes in the original election.
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