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Interview: Raila Warns of Protests if Elections "Rigged"

ODM leader Raila Odinga said on Wednesday mass protests were possible if August elections were rigged, comments likely to scare Kenyans fearful of a repeat of the widespread violence that erupted after a disputed poll in 2007.

Then, more than 1,200 people were killed in weeks of fighting after political protests turned into ethnic clashes, but 2013 polls, when Odinga accepted the result after a court ruling, passed relatively peacefully.

"This country is not ready for another rigged election. Kenyans will not accept it," Odinga said, noting that multiple people had been registered to vote with the same identity card in a registration period that has just ended.

IEBC accepts that some of his criticisms are justified and has identified 78,000 duplicate registrations. Spokesman Andrew Limo said the commission was resolving the issue.

"We are confident we will have a credible and convincing register by May 10 to start verification," he said.

The government said that Odinga was simply trying to discredit the voting process early to lay the ground for challenging the results on the streets.

"The opposition is trying to create a narrative so eventually they have a way of rejecting the elections," State House director Munyori Buku said.

"They never accept the result."

REGIONAL STABILITY

Kenya is a staunch Western ally and a stable anchor in a region roiled by conflict. Its $63 billion economy is East Africa's biggest but growth is not fast enough to absorb a mass of unemployed youth.

President Uhuru Kenyatta's government has also been hit by a string of corruption scandals and a strike by doctors that has now entered its third month.

Kenyatta, Odinga's arch political rival, has spent the last two months on a massive voter registration drive across the country and in his ethnic Kikuyu heartland, a strategy that helped him prevail over Odinga in 2013.

Odinga, a leading candidate for the top job, also took part in this year's registration drive, which officials say added 3 million people to nearly 16 million registered voters, but he said it was deeply flawed.

"This is a big mess," he said, "The executive office is trying to downplay it. It is a major, major mess."

Odinga said he would first seek redress through the courts but that the government was putting pressure on the judiciary, citing Aden Duale's recent public criticism of a judge.

"That was an attempt to try to intimidate or blackmail the judiciary so they can be complicit," he told Reuters in an interview in the capital, Nairobi.

"We have not ruled out what we call mass action ... to ensure the rule of law is respected," he said.

"Every option is open to us."

FLASHPOINTS

Both sides accuse each other of stoking tribal tensions, a dangerous game in a country where politics often splits along ethnic lines. Analysts say the 47 county governorships, which come with a big budget and perks, will be flashpoints.

"They (voters) are being manipulated to believe that if so-and-so from another tribe is in leadership then ... their lives are going to be endangered and they can only be secure when their man occupies the top position," Odinga said.

Last week, during a campaign to register voters, Kenyatta accused the opposition of "lies, tribalism, hatred and divisive politics".

Some diplomats fear that the international community, which played a major role in mediating and ending the 2007 violence, may be less engaged this time as they grapple with Brexit, a European refugee crisis and a new American administration.

The threat of prosecution at the International Criminal Court, which hung over the 2013 polls, has also receded after the case against Kenyatta collapsed following allegations of political interference and witness-tampering.

"You could see a whole lot more violence this time around before the international community intervenes because there are so many fires burning everywhere," said one diplomat.

- Reuters

Comments

I am going to venture to say that we are not going to have chaos this time around.The government needs to be keen to ensure that the polls are conducted in a fair and transparent way.As such the IEBC should be supported in every way so that they can deliver a credible election that the country can rest its confidence in.
Secondly I believe that the Jubilee Party is going to win the election .The main reason is that more and more Kenyans are seeing that this man Raila is an unstable,crazy, narcissistic lunatic.He only cares for his political ambitions not the good of the millions of Kenyans.
What Kenyans want more than any thing else is Peace and Stability.The ordinary mwananchi regardless of whether he/she is Kikuyu, Kamba, Luo,Somali, White or Black, Muslim or Christian wants peace,stability and civil order as their principle goal.
It is based on this peace and stability that all the 40 million Kenyans have built their lives upon.And as such Kenyans regardless of their tribe are not going to allow any one politician to destroy the temple of our country which is the peace that we all share.
Thirdly I think that the focus this time around has to be on holding this lunatic and moron Mr Raila accountable.Kenyans in general have to tell him that if he behaves himself and conducts himself in a peaceful manner, then no one will bother him.However, if he tries to go down the path of chaos, then there will be accountability for him as an individual.He should not try to think that the masses of ordinary Kenyans are going to follow him into chaos.No.The masses of ordinary Kenyans care too much about themselves and their children and the Kenyan way of life to follow a lunatic into chaos.
If this Mr Raila and his goons are looking for an example to emulate in the world.Then He should emulate former president Obama.Everybody knows that Mr Obama suffered a painful loss.However He did not lead the USA public into chaos.No.Instead he calmed the public down, even in the face of the specter of Russian interference.Mr Obama believed in democracy soo much that he handed power in a peaceful manner.Mr Obama was among the first to tell his supporters that the new American Administration should be given a chance.This is the kind of behavior that Kenyans are expecting of this Mr Raila. If he falls short then he should expect that there is going to be accountability for him as an individual.
As far as accountability is concerned.I think that all the enforcement agencies in the country need to make contingent plans for holding him accountable for his actions.He has already threatened mass action.As such they should then plan to hold him accountable.And this actually includes the ICC.We should remember that Former President Moi held Mr Raila in Detention for 10 years.Maybe the Kenyan Government,the Kenyan Judiciary, the entire country as a whole and the international Community needs to prepare themselves for this outcome this time around.
However should Mr Raila conduct himself in a peaceful manner.For example by accepting the results and conceding defeat should he defeated.Then nobody should bother him.In fact he may get some brownie points for good behavior and people will allow him to retire politics in peace.

@Wakenya.No. I mean Obama.He suffered a painful loss by not having Mrs Clinton win.Because Mrs Clinton was going to be an extension of his political legacy.However, my point is.I have a lot of respect for the way Obama handled the post election period.He was the one at the forefront in calming the whole world down.He was one of the key leaders telling Clinton's supporters who were obviously hurting from the loss, to calm down and give the new administration a chance.

In my opinion Raila should not run for election this time. He should instead let Kalonzo or Watengula be the flag bearer of NASA coalition for the sake of peace in Kenya if he so loves that country as he claims. This is because Raila is does NOT belief in democracy. He has never conceded defeat in any election and he is not about to do so this time. He is egoistic person who want to become President of Kenya at any cost. In fact, he has declared that there will be chaos in the country if there is any sign of irregularity in the election. This is a guarantee of chaos because there is nothing like 100% free election in the World. It doesn't happen in USA, India, Vatican, UK or anywhere in the World. If Raila sense he is losing election he could plant few drunkards in some polling Stations such as those in Bondo or Kibera to disrupt it and then give them as example of why the election was not conducted fair and free. Raila is a dangerous demagogue to be allowed to be a flag bearer of any political aspiring to field a candidate in the next general election!!!

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