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Kenyatta faults Odinga ‘Poll Boycott, Voter Bullying’

Kenyatta faults Odinga ‘Poll Boycott, Voter Bullying’

ASKiNGRADiO.com | News | Kenya | October 31, 2017

By Jeremiah Wakaya

President Uhuru Kenyatta has faulted Opposition leader Raila Odinga for disregarding a Supreme Court order for a fresh election despite having successfully petitioned the court to nullify his re-election in the August presidential poll.

In his address on Monday after being declared the winner of last week’s repeat election by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) Chairperson Wafula Chebukati, President Kenyatta said Odinga’s action demonstrated his unwillingness to abide by the rule of law.

“Despite the fact that my major competitor went to court demanding the presidential election be nullified and was granted that annulment, he chose to ignore the rest of the ruling which ordered a fresh election in 60 days conducted by IEBC. Thereafter he chose to abandon the fresh poll,” Kenyatta noted.

According to President Kenyatta, Odinga’s action to pull out of the fresh State House contest was akin to a person who elects to exercise a right to legal recourse only to abandon the consequences.

The Head of State who garnered 7.4 million votes to beat Odinga with an overwhelming victory of 98 per cent of valid votes thanked Kenyans who turned up to vote despite threats and intimidation crafted by the Odinga’s National Super Alliance (NASA) to scare them from turning up to vote.

“In line with the verdict, l chose to abide by the court ruling. I went back to our people and once again appealed for their vote. I take this opportunity to thank all those who turned up in these fresh elections despite violent intimidation and witchcraft,” he stated.

President Kenyatta also commended Kenyans for exercising their right to vote and abiding by the tenets of the Constitution.

He noted that the conduct of the fresh election was evidence that Kenya’s democracy and respect to the rule of law had indeed come of age.

President Kenyatta said his decision to concede to the Supreme Court ruling of September 1 nullifying his re-election was premised on the realization that the law is greater than him.

It is with that painful reasoning, he said, that he decided to submit himself to the “general will of all as expressed through the Constitution.”

“This is how the October 26th election was made possible. It is an expression of the general will of all. And this includes the general will to vote and the will not to vote,” President Kenyatta said.

He highlighted numerous challenges faced while preparing for the election including the need to seal existing gaps in the law.

His decision to back down from the amendments, he said was based on the wider consensus that the changes were ill-timed and could have stirred further confrontations and divisions in the country.

“Because law must be founded on reasoned national consensus, I listened to these voices. I did not sign the new Bill into law,” said President Kenyatta.

He reached out to Kenyans regardless of political stances urging them to rally together in order to achieve shared progress for the betterment of the nation.

Earlier on, IEBC rendered its unanimous decision to declare results of the presidential election successfully conducted in 266 out of 291 constituencies countrywide, having arrived at the conclusion that it would have been practically impossible to hold an election in the remaining 25 constituencies in Nyanza where insecurity impaired the Commission’s ability to conduct an election.

“Section 58 (b2) of the Elections Act requires that when an election is postponed, the said election should be held at the earliest practicable time. We postponed the election in 25 constituencies but the Commission could not determine an appropriate and practicable time and we were unable to proceed with an election in those constituencies,” Chebukati explained.

Chebukati explained that the failure by an estimated 1.6 million voters in the said constituencies to participate in the presidential election would not tilt the scales in favour of any candidate in the election with Odinga of NASA only having secured 73,228 votes.

“In accordance with 55 (b) of the Election Act, the Commission directed that a return of the election be made being satisfied that the results shall not be affected by voting in the said electoral areas where voting was postponed,” Chebukati remarked.

 

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