The people of Malindi Constituency and Kericho County went to the polls on Monday to elect their MP and senator respectively in by-elections that should never have been in the first place.
Other than hubris, wrong judgment, a desperate search for acceptance in regions that reject it and search for opportunity to steal from the public, there was absolutely no reason for the Jubilee administration to cause by-elections in Malindi and Kericho.
Nevertheless, we congratulate the people of Malindi and for exercising their right to choose their leaders despite massive obstacles put on their way and provocation by the very individuals and institutions that are supposed to facilitate the free expression of voter preferences through the ballot. We congratulate Kericho voters for a brave battle that looks unfinished.
We are concerned that in the Malindi and Kericho by-elections, the Jubilee administration worked hand in hand with the IEBC to frustrate the Opposition and KANU and force Jubilee candidates on a population unwilling to accept them. We thank the people of Malindi for standing up to Jubilee and delivering the seat to CORD. We thank our supporters and our leaders for reading the Jubilee mischief and guarding the ballot from election thieves ferried from Nairobi.
However, we note with deep concern that the mischief that Jubilee intended in the Coast continues. This morning, the acting Mombasa OCPD Mr Patrick Njoroge went to the offices of Governor Ali Hassan Joho and ordered the governor’s security detail to report back to base. In the spirit of revenge for which it is known for, Jubilee has withdrawn governor Joho’s security.
We condemn strongly this act of blackmail, intimidation and revenge. We will hold the interior Cabinet Secretary Mr General Joseph Nkaissery and the Jubilee administration’s point person in the Coast Mr Nelson Marwa responsible for Mr Joho’s security. Our able governor must get his security back without further delay.
We equally congratulate Kanu for a battle well fought in Kericho against monumental odds mounted by a partisan and incompetent IEBC and equally partisan government agents that were determined to give Jubilee the seat. Kanu may have lost, but it made a strong and loud statement about the feelings of the people of the South Rift.
Politics of the Rift Valley will never be the same again.
The two by-elections had very disturbing shortcomings that should be of concern to Kenyans. The IEBC and state agencies, particularly elements of the provincial administration and security forces failed the neutrality test.
There was no reason whatsoever for Mr. Marwa to play such a central role, deploying police and other security agencies where nobody asked for them in Malindi. The security agencies were singly focused on harassing the Opposition in both Kericho and Malindi. We demand an explanation from the IEBC on, by whose authority and on whose request Mr Marwa deployed police to seal off Malindi and hunt down Opposition supporters. It is not the work of the provincial administration to manage elections.
Action must be taken against Mr Marwa if his stay at the Coast as a civil servant is to remain tenable and productive.
Kenyan elections cannot be run by the Interior Ministry, which is headed by a presidential appointee.
The elections were also wanting in transparency and the effectiveness of administration. Vote buying and voter bribery went on blatantly in broad day light. To date, there is not a single word from the IEBC on all these abuses. Protection of the integrity of the vote is the work of IEBC, not the provincial administration.
The use of security forces and provincial administration sends worrying signals ahead of 2017 elections. The blockade of Malindi before and during the polls was similar to the 2013 elections when stage-managed attacks at the Coast, followed by blockade of the area was used as excuse to block residents from going to the polls in the name of security. The blockade of the Supreme Court ahead of the infamous ruling that handed power to Jubilee was indeed, shocking.
It is similar to the blockade of the KICC and the entire city of Nairobi ahead of the declaration of fraudulent election results in 2007.
The message must go out to all in no uncertain terms. Jubilee has lost every poll it has occasioned ostensibly to claw back on Opposition support since 2013: Makuueni, Matungulu, Siaya, Homa Bay, Bungoma, Kajiado, Masongaleni and now Malindi.
Jubilee has lost a civic seat in Nyangores and had to go all out to retain Kericho under contested circumstances. It is only in Kabete that Jubilee has won a by-election.
Jubilee is poised to lose the 2017 elections. Its sole plan for retention of power is clearly the use of force, bribery and the support from and manipulation of IEBC.
Time is running out for the IEBC to demonstrate to Kenyans that it has the independence and competence to run the critical 2017 elections. Time is equally running out for Jubilee to demonstrate to Kenyans that it is committed to providing the infrastructure for free, transparent and fair elections in which the will of the people will be respected.
CORD will not provide room for rigging in 2017. And CORD WILL NOT accept rigged elections in 2017. Jubilee and IEBC need to get this message right and begin doing what is legal and acceptable.