Raila accuses President Ruto of plotting to plant allies into IEBC for 2027 polls

Raila accuses President Ruto of plotting to plant allies into IEBC for 2027 polls

Azimio leader Raila Odinga when he met grassroots leaders from 17 constituencies in Nairobi County on January 25, 2023. PHOTO | COURTESY

  • Mr. Odinga opposed the IEBC Amendment Act 2022 that outlines the formation of a Selection Panel that will recruit new IEBC commissioners.
  • He said there would be no need to hold a General Election in 2027 if issues raised about the August 2022 polls are not resolved.

Azimio la Umoja One Kenya coalition party leader Raila Odinga has asked his supporters to resist what he claims is an attempt by President William Ruto to constitute an electoral commission that will favour his re-election bid in 2027.

Mr. Odinga spoke on Wednesday as he opposed the IEBC Amendment Act 2022 that outlines the formation of a Selection Panel that will recruit new IEBC commissioners to replace former Chairman Wafula Chebukati, Boya Molu and Yakub Guliye, whose terms expired, and the trio of Juliana Cherera, Francis Wanderi and Justus Nyang’aya who resigned.

He said there would be no need to hold a General Election in 2027 if issues raised about the August 2022 polls are not resolved.

Addressing grassroots leaders from 17 constituencies in Nairobi County 72 hours after his return from South Africa, Mr. Odinga accused the Head of State of a ploy to recruit a favourable referee for his 2027 re-election bid.

"Tusiporekebisha hayo makosa, hakutakuwa na haja ya watu kwenda kwa uchaguzi 2027…tulikuwa na Chebukati watatu, na Cherera wanne, sasa tunaambiwa wale wachache ndio wasema ukweli na wengi sio wakweli, majority must have their way and minority their say, that is democracy,” he said.

"We must refuse to accept, na sio kwa sababu ya Raila, hapana. Raila atatoka kesho, Raila anaweza kuwa hayuko 2027, lakini kama mkienda kwa uchaguzi, na wale wameiba wako pale na wameweka wezi wenzao pande ile, sasa umeona wamebadilisha sheria, ati Ruto anataka kuchagua another electoral commission yake mwenyewe."

On Monday, President Ruto signed into law the IEBC Amendment Bill 2022 which outlines the process of recruiting new commissioners in the electoral body, after the expiry of Chebukati’s 6-year tenure as IEBC Chairman, alongside former commissioners Molu and Guliye.

Three commissioners; Cherera, Nyang’aya and Wanderi, resigned to avoid facing a tribunal chaired by Appellate court Judge Aggrey Muchelule, while Irene Masit is waiting to know her verdict after opting to fight for her job.

The new law allocates two slots each in the Selection Panel to the Parliamentary Service Commission and Inter-Religious Council, while the Public Service Commission, the Political Parties Liaison Committee and the Law Society of Kenya (LSK) will nominate one member each to the panel; a panel Mr. Odinga considers skewed in the President’s favour.

The opposition chief maintained that he does not recognise Ruto’s presidency and asked his supporters to disregard the Kenya Kwanza administration; a declaration the Head of State laughed off on Monday.

"Kenyans must rise up and defend their rights because if we don’t do that, these people will continue to rule you without your consent. We have even told the foreign nations, wachaneni kuingilia mambo ya Wakenya, Kenyans will resolve their own issues…Kenyans must be allowed to elect their leaders and not what we have now, leaders imposed by a corrupt electoral commission,” stated Mr. Odinga.

The Azimio leader asked his supporters to convene at Jacaranda Grounds on Sunday for a public rally for further directions.

“Jumapili ni jumapili, nataka kuona uwanja imejaa, na kisha nitawatangazia mpango mwingine,” Mr. Odinga said.

“Tusipofanya vile tumeanza kufanya, haitakuwa na haja kufikiria mambo ya 2027. Kiti ya Baba iko State House. Waache kutuambia mambo ya kiti ya leader of opposition, tunajua kiti yetu iko wapi,” Jubilee Party Secretary General Jeremiah Kioni added.

Ugunja MP Opiyo Wandayi on his part said: “Ile Kamukunji ya juzi ni kionjo tu, tunataka jumapili Jacaranda ijae, na ile maandamano wamekuwa wakisema kila siku, wangojee, inakuja hivi karibuni.”

President Ruto has however rubbished the remarks reiterating that he will not be cowed nor intimidated to agree to another “handshake.”

"Ooh sijui hawanitambui…nawaambia si mbadilishe tactics kidogo muachane na ile ya zamani. Mlisema Kibaki sio rais, akamaliza akiwa rais, mkasema Uhuru sio rais, akabakia rais, sasa mnafikiria mtawezana na mimi hustler?” The President said on Monday.

"Hawa watu hakuna kitu, ni mambo tu ya nusu mkate na handshake wanatafuta. Mimi nawaambia mapema, my friends sahau mambo ya handshake, ati mnanipangia maandamano mpate kitu kutoka kwangu, you are dreaming!”

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