Cord calls countrywide protests over IEBC

Cord supporters demonstrating in Kisumu on April 26, 2016 demanding the disbandment of the IEBC. PHOTO | TOM OTIENO | NATION MEDIA GROUP

What you need to know:

  • Cord leader Raila Odinga and his co-principals vowed to lead a march to occupy the headquarters of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) in Nairobi next Tuesday.
  • Mr Odinga, Mr Kalonzo Musyoka (Wiper Democratic Movement) and Mr Moses Wetang’ula (Ford- Kenya) told a press conference in Nairobi that their coalition would occupy IEBC offices in 16 major towns from Monday.

The Opposition Cord on Tuesday called for countrywide protests from next week in its bid to eject electoral agency commissioners from office.

Cord leader Raila Odinga and his co-principals vowed to lead a march to occupy the headquarters of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) in Nairobi next Tuesday.

Mr Odinga, Mr Kalonzo Musyoka (Wiper Democratic Movement) and Mr Moses Wetang’ula (Ford- Kenya) told a press conference in Nairobi that their coalition would occupy IEBC offices in 16 major towns from Monday.

“On Tuesday, May 3, 2016, at 10 am we call upon all Kenyans to assemble at the Anniversary Towers for a date with the IEBC. Subsequently, we shall assemble at the Anniversary Towers every Monday,” Mr Odinga announced.

He said that after next Tuesday, the coalition would sponsor “Monday protests” to occupy all the other IEBC offices in the country to force chairman Ahmed Issack Hassan and his colleagues to resign.

Cord claims the commission is compromised, riddled with corruption and too partisan to deliver credible elections.

The decision is in reaction to the disruption of the coalition’s attempted occupation of the IEBC headquarters on Monday, when heavily armed police officers tear-gassed the opposition supporters, forcing them and their leaders to flee.

Yesterday, Mr Odinga condemned the police action, saying it was a reminder of the conduct of the authorities during the oppressive Kanu regime.

He said the “Monday protests” would be peaceful and urged police to respect the nationalists leading Kenyans in demanding the resignation of the IEBC officials.

“All meetings outside Nairobi will be held at IEBC offices with emphasis on Mombasa, Garissa, Machakos, Nakuru, Eldoret, Kakamega, Kisii, Busia, Bungoma, Narok, Lodwar, Meru, Isiolo, Nyeri and Kitale. Kenya cannot and will not conduct another General Election under the IEBC as presently constituted,” Mr Odinga declared.

Speaking at the same conference, Mr Musyoka said he and other opposition leaders would be part of the protests and urged supporters to turn up in large numbers.

“The IEBC is now irredeemably tainted with scandals. The Supreme Court is collapsing under the weight of corruption allegations. And the police, with its infamy of lack of independence, have no place in the present constitutional arrangement,” said Mr Musyoka.

He accused the IEBC of frustrating a constitutional process to initiate electoral changes through Okoa Kenya campaign.

“With the stroke of a pen, IEBC frustrated a valid constitutional process by falsely claiming that Cord did not attain the threshold of one million signatures,” he said.

He said Jubilee was living in mortal fear of a referendum and claimed the IEBC chairman and his colleagues had been coerced to kill the Okoa Kenya drive.

“The administration threatened the IEBC chairman and his colleagues with prosecution for them to make decisions in its favour,” he alleged.

The Wiper leader said police had been notified of next week’s protests and called for peaceful demonstrations. “By this announcement, it should be taken that we have notified the police of our plans to hold peaceful protests in Nairobi and across the country from Tuesday,” Mr Musyoka said.

Mr Wetang’ula consoled opposition supporters who bore the brunt of the police action on Monday and urged the government to allow citizens to exercise their right to picket.

He claimed Jubilee did not win the 2013 presidential election, saying it was a conspiracy hatched by elements in the IEBC, the Supreme Court and security agencies.

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