PERSONAL STATEMENT BY RT. HON RAILA ODINGA ON POLICE VIOLENCE:
NOVEMBER 18, 2017.
My fellow Kenyans,
I stand before you today with a heart filled with pain.
Hundreds of thousands of you yesterday braved the desperate acts of lawless repression and blockading of your settlements and roads to come greet and escort me from the airport.
But your courage and conviction came at a very steep price. Many who left their homes early in the morning with joy in their hearts but never returned home to their families and other loved ones. Others still lie in hospitals. This was the deadliest day ever since PEV in 2007.
There is immense sadness in our land for those who have perished. But to them I say: not a single one of you will be forgotten. You did not die in vain. You sacrificed your lives for the cause of democracy as it gave you the freedom to choose your leaders and determine the direction of your country. So, you and hundreds of thousands of others fearlessly pushed past the barricades and the heavily armed security forces arrayed against you.
Nairobi in peacetime has never seen such a complete lockdown of all the major roads that lead to the city centre. Using courage and ingenuity, hiding in offices and elsewhere until my motorcade approached, you showed tyranny is no match for a people determined to reclaim democracy and the rule of law.
This needless brutality and needless deaths yesterday show us all once again that this Jubilee regime opposes democratic choice as it cannot compete against the rest of us. So yesterday it decided that the two more of the three core pillars of Democracy could be dispensed with: freedom of assembly and the free press. So, you were banned from coming to the airport as it would demonstrate the vast support Nasa has, and because your vast numbers would contrast with his abysmal October 26 turnout.
Uhuru Kenyatta’s regime yesterday also struck a blow at the free media. Our media is now forbidden from providing live coverage of political events! The last time this happened was when a rigged outcome of the 2007 election was about to be perpetrated.
Some in Jubilee have claimed that re-run elections have low turnouts. We have heard better jokes! These are the facts: only three court-ordered reruns have previously taken place in history, in Ukraine, Austria and Maldives. Their repeat elections respectively registered 77.3%, 73.1% and 91.4% turnouts, figures which were similar or higher than the nullified elections. Uhuru’s rerun turnout was not much more than 20%. In addition, all the three runoff elections resulted in a better election, that is, democracy and rule of law were affirmed, not undermined.
So after making history with the nullification, we are on course to make history again by being the only country where the repeat election has been challenged again in court.
Kenyans have shown in the last few months that they will no longer tolerate the theft of elections and the destruction of democracy. That fact is now certainly known in the United States, as I discovered in last week in my many encouraging meetings there. I cannot disclose what was discussed, as these were all confidential.
However, I can quote what Ambassador Mark Bellamy, the former Director for African Affairs in the State Department and a former US Ambassador to Kenya, said at the public event at the Center for Strategic and International Studies where I delivered a lecture on 9 November.
In Ambassador Bellamy’s words: “Kenyans have shown that they do not accept authoritarianism or strong man rule prevailing in many parts of Africa. Kenya is therefore in political disarray. A sizeable portion of Kenyans doesn’t accept the legitimacy of the second 26 October election and a third election does not offer a way out of this crisis.”
These are very powerful and very pertinent words. A third election does not offer a way out of the crisis because at the moment the IEBC is riddled with criminal elements who will never allow a credible election to be held.
Even as we systematically go about our campaign for democratic change and the rule of law, we have been repeatedly accused by Jubilee and its friends of trying to seize power unlawfully. From the very beginning of the election campaign season, the Jubilee Government has been accusing us of planning crimes which everyone now knows they themselves have been committing.
In fact, beginning with the killing of Chris Msando and the grossly rigged election that our courageous Supreme Court annulled, they have plunged this country into a climate of fear and terror. The latest example was the Supreme Court’s inability to manage a quorum after the Deputy Chief Justice’s driver and bodyguard was shoot and wounded. In which democratic country in the world has the Supreme Court been intimidated into not meeting for a critical case?
Let us be clear. The prolonged political and economic crisis that we have been living with for months now is the responsibility solely of the Jubilee regime’s actions. Yesterday it brought Nairobi’s economy to a standstill, preventing workers, traders, travelers and students from going on with their normal lives. It is clear now that the longer Uhuru tries to achieve his dictatorial goals, the more the entire economy will suffer. Kenyans certainly will never accept the result of another rigged election.
There are many pathways out of the current crisis, but NASA won’t accept any that rewards Uhuru for his rigging.
We have been brought to this sorry pass by the criminal desire of the regime to hold on to power by force. We now are being dragged back into our very dark past and all the extraordinary and transformative gains that we have made since the end of KANU rule in 2002 have gone up in flames.
The rights and freedoms enshrined in the 2010 Constitution and the economic gains that have empowered so much enterprise and opportunity have been replaced under Jubilee by open repression and severe economic and financial hardship.
From next week, we will be updating Kenyans on a continuous basis on the full range of action plans by NASA to reclaim and defend democracy and ensure electoral justice.