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January 23, 2019

Why This Attack On Supreme Law, Raila?

NASA presidential flag-bearer Raila Odinga./FILE
NASA presidential flag-bearer Raila Odinga./FILE

As part of his “last bullet” campaign, ODM leader Raila Odinga seems to have adopted a scorched earth policy on all of the constitutional institutions that play a critical role in ensuring credible elections.

Most probably he has also come to the conclusion that he cannot make it to the presidency through elections.

However it is the Independent Elections and Boundaries Commission that has borne the brunt of his attacks. Over the past three years Raila has done literally everything he can to destroy this institution.

He started with a cleverly executed and ultimately successful demonisation of the first lot of experienced IEBC commissioners. Since then, Raila has opened wave after wave of legal and political onslaughts on virtually every aspect of IEBC operations.

Finally he has tied it all up in an insidious campaign of threats and intimidation targetted at the IEBC, the Judiciary … and now even the Kenyan voters.

The Constitution creates an independent IEBC; one not subject to the control of any person or authority, in government or out of government. The word ‘independent’ in IEBC’s name is, therefore, a deliberate symbolism of this insulation from the control or direction of state and non-state actors in the execution of its mandate.

However, the IEBC is not the only part of our Constitution Raila has a problem with. He is attacking literally every institution that is critical to the exercise by Kenyans of their sovereignty, especially in how they choose their leaders.

He has attacked Parliament, the Judiciary, the IEBC, the Executive and every other single institution that Kenyans set up to protect themselves from rogue politicians in the 2010 Constitution. Today Parliament is “rogue”, the Judiciary is ‘bandia’, and the IEBC is ‘illegitimate’.

At a rally in Nakuru, Raila threatened there would be ‘no election’ if the IEBC continues its appeal against the tallying of the presidential vote by agents other than its chairman. In yet another rally he said he “would not go to court this time round” and that “I would not accept a rigged election”, never mind that it is only the courts (and the IEBC) that can determine whether an election was rigged.

Then there is his call for every polling station to be ‘guarded’ by 50 youth who will ‘vet’ voters.

Ironically, it is Raila who aggressively led the campaigns for the Constitution, describing it as the best in the world. However, shortly after losing the 2013 election, he started the onslaught on it, beginning with his ill-fated Okoa Kenya initiative. According to Raila’s ideology the legitimacy of constitutional institutions is based on whether they agree with his position on an issue. The Constitution would still be the ‘best in the world’ if he were President today.

Meanwhile, there is this chilling silence from usually boisterous civil society. Whereas they tend to be very aggressive with anyone they think is undermining the sanctity of the Constitution, they have absolutely nothing to say to Raila.

Clearly they have come to an ‘understanding’ with Raila that grants him the leeway to go against the Constitution unhindered and unchecked, in return for some agreed benefits should be become President.

Anyone who adds all this together will come up with a very simple conclusion: Raila intends to either buy out or threaten any institution with the public legitimacy to question him when he undermines the Constitution. He will then force the IEBC to declare him President on 8/8/17, irrespective of the will of the people; or unleash violence.

Fortunately for Kenya, some of us can see right through that plan, and we are ready for him.

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