Everyone believes that Cord wants the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission disbanded. However, Cord is actually playing a wider game than just the IEBC. The attack against the IEBC is but one in a series of processes where Cord has attempted to force Jubilee to accommodate some of the opposition leaders in a government of national unity, since 2013.
The first and most open attempt was made in 2014 when Cord launched a call for ‘national dialogue’. This effort was pushed so aggressively and with such a sense of entitlement that by the time Saba Saba Day (July 7 ) came around it actually seemed like Cord would use violence to force the issue. However, the Jubilee administration stuck to its guns and insisted that systems and structures existed in the constitution, starting with Parliament, through which such dialogue could be conducted. Cord’s first attempt at negotiating for power collapsed.
In 2015 the opposition coalition launched ‘Okoa Kenya’. However, Cord clearly was not interested in a referendum, going by the kind of laxity exhibited in preparing their bid.
How else does one explain the fact that they did not present the signatures they collected in soft copy which would have made it easier and faster for the IEBC to confirm them, and made it easier for Cord to fight off any accusations that they did not make it to the one million mark. But they were not interested in a referendum; what they were trying to do is force Jubilee to negotiate by assuming that the young governing coalition would want to avoid a costly and disruptive referendum that would interrupt their first term in office. Jubilee called their bluff and Cord’s second attempt at getting into government collapsed.
In 2016 the Cord agenda is the reconstruction of the IEBC, which institution they accuse of being pro-Jubilee. But, as Raila would say, this is hogwash. The ironies and contradictions it presents are profound. First, the current IEBC is a creation of the coalition government in which Raila Odinga and Kalonzo Musyoka were the second and third most powerful figures after Mwai Kibaki. Second, considering that Kibaki was not interested in another term Raila and Kalonzo were the ones with the greatest interest in how the current IEBC was formed as they both expected to ‘inherit’ the presidency from Kibaki — if anyone has influenced this IEBC it would therefore be the two Cord principals. Finally, Jubilee leaders Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto were such rogue elements during the coalition government that they certainly would not have had any influence on how the IEBC was formed then.
Today, Cord does not have the kind of influence they had in the formation of the current IEBC so any restructuring will be to their disadvantage. This is not the kind of mistake politicians like Raila or Kalonzo would make. So why does Raila want to destroy an institution that is essentially Cord’s baby?
Cord is preparing their most elaborate and final demand for negotiation. By demanding that the current IEBC be disbanded, they have placed Jubilee in a lose-lose situation. If they succeed the new IEBC will be Jubilee’s baby. If they fail Jubilee will have ‘protected’ this IEBC, so it must be their baby! Very smart politics right there.
The second step is in 2017. Jubilee will win and Cord will cry foul-play by insisting that the referee (IEBC) was biased. They will then demand that the only way forward for Kenya is for a national dialogue between Jubilee and Cord. The expected result is the establishment of a coalition government. Unfortunately ‘turamonera 18!’ (we are seeing them from the 18th hole), as we say in Nyeri.