Top job hopefuls step up campaings
Prime Minister Raila Odinga yesterday announced he will hold a meeting today to resolve the controversial biometric voter registration tender cancelled last week by the IEBC. This follows a Cabinet proposal last week, which told the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission to revert to the biometric system to ensure free and fair elections.
Raila’s party, the Orange Democratic Movement had last Tuesday in a Parliamentary Group meeting chaired by him rejected the biometric voter registration and called for the use of the discredited manual registration. “Kenyans do not just want a BVR system but they want one that is flawless, one that can inspire their confidence in an electoral process,” said Ababu Namwamba, the secretary of the ODM Parliamentary Group.
On Wednesday, IEBC announced that it had terminated the tender for the supply of 9750 BVR kits sparking outrage from the public and a section of the political and religious class led by Deputy Prime Minister Musalia Mudavadi and Eldoret North MP William Ruto. On Friday, the Cabinet, chaired by President Kibaki met and advised IEBC to revert to the BVR as per the recommendations of the Kriegler Commission.
The Cabinet resolved to support the biometric voter registration system "as a policy guideline to help build public confidence in the electoral system ahead of the general elections". Addressing a rally in Kibera yesterday, Raila said his party’s race to State House is unstoppable. “We won in 2007, youths in Kibera uprooted the railway while demonstrating the stolen elections but those in power unleashed GSU and Mungiki to the innocent youth so that they could remain in power," Raila said.
Raila reiterated that the presidential race is between reformists and those in support of the status quo. Nairobi governor aspirant Philip Kisia had earlier supported the BVR, saying Kenyans want credible election results. He said in a manual system, poll results are not accurate. Others who addressed the rally were assistant ministers Elizabeth Ongoro, Oburu Oginga, Manson Nyamweya and MPs John Mbadi and Nicholus Gumbo. Conspicuously missing from the rally was ODM Nairobi County chairman George Aladwa and Housing assistant minister Margaret Wanjiru, who are quietly embroiled in a tussle over the control of the Orange party city politics.