Top Stories / National
Wednesday, 25 Oct 2017 18:02 EATjonyando@kenyafreepress.com
The NASA leadership today the birth of a resistance movement to reclaim democracy for Kenyans who he said had suffered under the weight of dictatorship and rigged elections. Below is the speech NASA leaders Raila Odinga, Musalia Mudavadi and Moses Wetangula delivered at Uhuru Park, Nairobi.
NASA STATEMENT ON THE PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION:
A NEW STRUGGLE BEGINS TOMORROW:
OCTOBER 25, 2017:
Article 3 of our Constitution is categorical at sub-sections one and two that:
1. Every person has an obligation to respect, uphold and defend this Constitution.
2. Any attempt to establish a government otherwise than in compliance with this Constitution is unlawful.
Tomorrow, the Jubilee Party will make its second attempt to establish a government in defiance of the Constitution by holding an election whose very organizers have said cannot be credible.
Exactly one week ago, the chairman of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission Mr. Wafula Chebukati said: “I have made several attempts to make crucial changes but all my motions have been defeated by a majority of the Commissioners. Under such conditions, it is difficult to guarantee free, fair and credible elections.”
Mr. Chebukati went on: “When there is a genuine commitment to let the commission work independently; when all the Commissioners and staff truly commit to serving the country rather than partisan political interests; and when we work together to create a conducive environment for Kenyans to express their sovereign will, then I can truly be confident of having credible presidential election. Only then can I commit to serve as the National Returning Officer in order to deliver a free, fair and credible election.”
A few hours earlier, Dr. Roselyn Akombe wrote in her resignation letter: “The Commission in its current state can surely not guarantee a credible election on October 26. I do not want to be party to such a mockery to electoral integrity.” Asked by the BBC whether Kenya can hold credible elections. Her answer was: “Absolutely not.”
Last evening, Deputy Chief Justice Ms. Philomena Mwilu’s bodyguard was shot and wounded. We have reason to believe the bullets were meant for the DCJ and the shock kept her from court today.
Earlier today, the High Court ruled that the Returning Officers for tomorrow’s elections are illegally in office. To cap it all, Supreme Court judges, either intimidated or compromised, stayed away from the court earlier today, making that institution unable to adjudicate in the critical affair of tomorrow’s election. All these confirm that we have a charade and not an election tomorrow.
The establishment of a government regardless of the Constitution was the intention of Jubilee in the run-up to August 8th. It is the reason Jubilee insisted on Al Ghurair as the single-sourced printer of ballots. It is the reason Jubilee rejected a thorough audit of the register and created unofficial polling stations.
It is why, in the lead up to the election, the IEBC’s chief technology officer Mr. Chris Msando was tortured and murdered. The government rejected help from the FBI and the Scotland Yard to unravel the murder. The murder remains unsolved and Uhuru Kenyatta’s government remains the principle suspect.
The attempt to establish a government by extra constitutional means in August was however disrupted by our efforts and eventually rejected by the Supreme Court on September 1. Since then, Jubilee has reassembled and mounted another attempt to stay in power by means that are clearly undemocratic and unconstitutional. Like in August, Jubilee will tomorrow attempt to stay in power by force through a sham election.
The August elections and the one scheduled for tomorrow are part of the emerging trend of electoral autocracy gaining ground in Africa. This is a system where dictators give a cloak of democratic respectability by organizing sham elections every four or five years, which they must “win,” at any cost.
After the August election, and even before the new one, President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto have moved to dismantle the entire edifice of the rule of law enshrined in Kenya’s Constitution to consolidate their long-term power.
The Jubilee Party has subsequently passed new laws that will gut many current electoral safeguards and also severely limit the powers of the Supreme Court to annul an election. It will also diminish the authority of the Chairman of the Electoral Commission, by making allowing any member of the Commission to announce the result of a Presidential election. Uhuru has been dangling that Bill over our heads, threatening to sign it into law if we do not participate in elections.
The path Uhuru and Ruto are taking is a beaten one. It is the same path that Yaya Jameh tried in the Gambia, what Blaise Compaore tried in Burkina Faso and what Laurent Gbagbo tried in Ivory Coast before their careers ended abruptly and in utter shame.
To establish electoral autocracy, all that a regime needs is a compliant electoral body and system, which Jubilee has in IEBC, a compliant Judiciary, a brutal police and a cowed citizenry.
The Judiciary has stood up for the Constitution and the rule of law in our country. In response, Uhuru and Ruto have openly threatened the judges.
A day after the ruling by the Supreme Court in September, Uhuru Kenyatta said: “We shall revisit this thing. We clearly have a problem. Who even elected you? We have a problem and we must fix it.” He was addressing Supreme Court judges who ruled against him. He has referred to the judges as crooks and likened them to coup plotters. And today, the muzzling of the Supreme Court was clearly seen to be taking shape.
As Opposition, we have tried to cure the problem of a compliant electoral body by coming up with what we called the irreducible minimums to help reform the IEBC and create a level playing field. In response, the IEBC first stonewalled, focusing on inconsequential measures while contending that there was insufficient time to do anything significant.
Then, in recent days, it has published what it claims to have done to meet our demands. Without any chance to verify those claims, NASA has no reason to trust their validity. As we all know, opacity, double-speak and subterfuge have remained IEBC’s life blood.
We are at war with two autocrats; Uhuru and Ruto; vicious, reckless, bitter, corrupt and hungry for power. We have seen them unleash unprecedented and unreasonable terror on citizens across the country and especially in Nairobi and Western Kenya in the lead up to, during and after August elections. We have seen them rope in militia, dress them in police attires, arm them and unleash them on protesters with deadly consequences.
As we speak, truckloads of paramilitary and police officers have been deployed to commit massacre especially in Western Kenya and Nairobi with the sole purpose of protecting an illegitimate hold on to power by Uhuru and Ruto.
We have seen none other than the Interior Cabinet Secretary Dr. Fred Matiangi sanction the deployment of militias in Kisii and other parts of Nyanza to complement what Mungiki will be doing in Nairobi.
The murders that have occurred during recent protests, together with those committed immediately after August elections, were clearly premeditated and carefully planned to annihilate the people and make them accept a stolen election as a fait accompli. Uhuru and Ruto are looking for a cowed and subdued citizenry in order to roll out a dictatorship.
As we have said before, dictatorships once established do not reform themselves. We belong in the category of those who refuse to give up our basic rights and civil liberties, the right to speak out, to assemble, to protest, to organize, to travel freely in and out of the country, to associate, to criticize government without fear or favor and to live as free men and women.
What will happen in this country tomorrow may well mark the end of the ballot as a means of establishing government. The question we must ask ourselves is: Where does Kenya go from here once we allow a dictatorship to establish itself?
Archbishop Desmond Tutu told us: “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.” Centuries ago, Irish statesman, author and philosopher Edmund Burke told us: “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”
NASA refuses to be neutral and therefore be on the same side with the oppressor. We equally refuse to be the good men and women who did nothing when evil took roots. Tomorrow therefore, we return our original assignment. That assignment at the start of the current journey was and remains that we will be the people who will end electoral fraud not only in Kenya but in all of Africa. We are the team that will uproot the evil culture of sham elections with pre-determined outcomes.
We fought for multi-parties and a new constitution and we won. Tomorrow we begin with new determination the battle for electoral justice, where government is established in no way other than through free, fair and credible elections. We must rise to the occasion and save democracy not only for ourselves but for all of Africa. We remind the people of Kenya that in this region, we are the last country standing and fighting for democracy. If Kenya succumbs to dictatorship, all of Africa will be in danger.
But we must take courage that although we are pivotal, we are not alone in our democratic ambitions. Across the continent, we have comrades in the people of Ghana, Nigeria, Cameroon, the Gambia, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Botswana, Togo and South Africa who insist that every vote must count and every vote must be counted; the Constitution must be respected and the rule of law upheld.
So what do we do tomorrow? Do not participate in any way in the sham election. Convince your friends, neighbours and everyone else not to participate.
Instead, we advise Kenyans who value democracy and justice hold vigil and prayers away from polling stations. We are aware that the blood thirsty regime is planning to use every excuse to massacre our people. Let us deny them that chance.
As we do these, we must always remind ourselves that we face these challenges as Kenyans, united in the suffering from the tribulations brought upon this country by Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto. None of us is the beneficiary of this tyrannical two-some. The only beneficiaries of this villainous regime are friends and relatives of its Kingpins.
Let us warn ourselves against the dangers of negative ethnicity and ethnic profiling. This is the tool that was forged by our colonizers and used to keep us divided. It has been effectively used by successive regimes to keep the people from uniting in demanding justice. It is one of the tools in the political tool-kit of this tyrannical two-some.
Therefore do not castigate any person or ethnic community. Don’t look at your brother or sister with suspicion. He or she is as much of a victim as you. If your neighbor supports this two-some, do not insult or assault them. Instead seek to open their eyes to see the great country we aspire for. Give them the courage to admit the grave injustices we all suffer. Get them to join us in committing ourselves to one struggle, to one destiny.
Tomorrow, Uhuru and Ruto intend to actualize the electoral dictatorship they set out to establish on 8 August. Tomorrow, they will defy the ruling of the highest Court in the land, and conduct a sham election that only they can be victors—a coup de tat.
To quote statesmen of yore, when injustice becomes law, resistance becomes duty and if there is no justice for the people, let there be no peace for the government. Consequently when government is established contrary to the Constitution and the law defiance and disobedience becomes an imperative.
From tomorrow, the duty of every citizen who loves freedom, who respects our Constitution, of every patriot, is to resist dictatorship, and to fight to restore a government established in compliance with the Constitution. The only government that can be so established, is a government elected in a free, fair and credible election.
By attempting to establish an unlawful government, Uhuru and Ruto have invited us to exercise or sovereign power directly as enshrined in the very first article of our Constitution. The invitation is accepted.
1. From today we are transforming the NASA Coalition into a resistance movement.
2. Embark on a national campaign of defiance of illegitimate governmental authority and non-cooperation with all its organs.
3. Boycott the goods and services offered by the businesses for whose benefit dictatorship is being established.
4. We shall convene a PEOPLE’S ASSEMBLY for the purpose of charting our way back to constitutionalism and democracy.
5. Mobilize all progressive forces in the country to ensure that a fresh, free and fair presidential election is organized within 90 days.