Raila: March of democracy can no longer be stopped in Kenya

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BY RAILA ODINGA

My dear fellow Kenyans,

I stand before you today as a very proud Kenyan. And all of you as well should stand tall at this great moment of our history.

Amid all the tensions generated by the stunning IEBC failures in the management of this most important election since independence, you have taken no actions which would imperil our peace.

These failures dwarf anything Kenyans have ever witnessed in any previous election.

But whether you were aggrieved or joyous, you have waited patiently to see the process to resolve this dispute played out as defined by our liberating new Constitution.

Your commitment to the rule of law and to peace has put to shame the prophets of doom who were convinced the supporters of the declared loser on 4th March would embark on a bloody course.

But those same prophets are now warning that violence looms around the corner at any of the Constitutional steps that lie ahead in resolving this election dispute. They are using these scare tactics to prevent Kenyans from supporting the Constitutional process now underway for the Supreme Court to legitimize the election of the next President.

But Kenyans know from the experience of the tainted election of five years ago that violence destroys the lives of the innocent, sets back their hopes for decent livelihoods, and deeply divides them.

I want to state once again that I am not challenging the IEBC election outcome because I am determined to be declared President.

There is no democratic goal higher than respecting the will of the people to decide whom they want to lead the nation. And barring mass violence, there is no crime higher than subverting the outcome of a Presidential election.
What we are seeing in this electoral battle is the hidden struggle between the forces of change and of the status quo.

Is that successful, historic process of greater freedom for which so many sacrificed so much going to be stopped dead in its tracks by the few who refuse to yield anything to the many.

When Kenya burned five years ago after an election so tainted that Judge Kriegler said no one could be sure who won it, I readily decided to make the sacrifice that was needed to keep Kenya whole.

But what I regret is that we did not put in place any mechanism to identify and punish who the perpetrators of that election crime were.

Had we done so, the IEBC would not have dared to conduct this election in the criminally negligent manner that it did.

Recognizing the damage the sham 2007 election did to the fabric of our nation, Kenyans had created the IEBC specifically to ensure that such an election trauma would never visit us again.

And to make sure that it would have state of the art mechanisms and instruments, we spent tens of billions of shillings. And yet every mechanism and every instrument the IEBC deployed failed miserably.

Its failure and collapse, on a catastrophic scale on the polling day, so fundamentally changed the system of polling and the number of votes cast, owing to inordinate and inexplicable delays at the polling stations thereby reverting Kenya to the discredited manual system, with all the attendant risks and opportunities for abuse and manipulation which in fact took place.

These grave errors constituted fundamental contraventions of the letter, spirit and objects of the Constitution of Kenya.

They failed to ensure or secure a free or fair election and no Government could lawfully be formed by or from the purported declaration of winner on 9th March, 2013, to the dishonor of the Kenyan people.

Between February and March, the IEBC tinkered with the final register severally, and it is not clear which register was in fact used in the final tallying of the votes.

On the polling day, officers of a company by the name Kencall EPZ Limited, a call centre, were reportedly receiving the results of the general elections and specifically the Presidential ones.

How did IEBC allow Kencall to co-host both its server and that of the TNA, which may have compromised the integrity of the electoral process or at very least indicates that the TNA had access to information that should have been confidential to IEBC alone.

This clandestine arrangement of co-hosting databases is not permissible by law and indeed was not disclosed to the public or to us in the CORD Coalition.

Despite my agents regularly updating and complaining to the IEBC about the incidences of electoral frauds, malpractices and irregularities they discovered during the elections, the IEBC neglected, refused or failed to act.

Electronic voter identification kits were not functioning, officials and clerks had forgotten passwords, batteries were flat and kits were unable to charge among other impermissible reasons all of which could have been prevented by the IEBC.

This fundamentally changed the system of polling and the number of votes cast, owing to inordinate and inexplicable delays at the polling stations affected, thereby reverting Kenya to the discredited manual system, with all the attendant risks and opportunities for abuse and manipulation which in fact took place.

Among the glaring anomalies which were observed in the process of manual tallying were:

(a) The result were declared on the basis of unsigned Form 36,
(b) Multiplicity of Form 36, and variants of entries in some constituencies
(c) Alterations on files and
(d) Brazen disregard by the IEBC of the entries on the files of constituencies which were eventually reflected in the final tally of Presidential election results and which were announced without signed verification Form 34s.

In many polling stations, the valid votes cast exceeded the number of registered voters.

In specific instances, the results in Form 36 disclosed by IEBC were materially different from the results that were posted in the final tally of the presidential results.

There were several instances where registered voter numbers in polling stations were inflated in Form 34 contrary to what was contained in Form 36.

In most of those circumstances, more votes were cast than the total number of registered voters.

In other cases, there were more than two Form 36 reflecting different returns. In yet others, there were alterations in Form 36 without acknowledgment.

In yet other stations, there were different entries in two Forms 36 submitted in respect of the same constituency.

I have no hesitation whatsoever in lawfully challenging the election outcome. To do otherwise would be a betrayal of the new Constitution and therefore of everything that Kenyans hold dear.

They would forever lose their faith in elections and in democracy. That would mean they would be condemned to the rule of the few.

The multiple failures of the IEBC in fact reflect failures of so many of our new institutions. But the one institution in which all Kenyans still have faith is our new Judiciary.

It’s a faith based on their achievements in the last two years. In the new Kenya, the Courts have been vested with enormous powers, including the power to curb the unlawful use of authority by the Executive and of course the IEBC.

Let me conclude by saying that the March of Democracy can no longer be stopped in Kenya.

Our people have struggled too long and made too many gains in the last 20 years to be cowed into submission again.

We cannot begin what was supposed to be a new era, under a new constitution, in the same old ways.

Kenyans’ determination to uphold democracy is renowned around the world, and our African and international partners knew in 2007 that there would be prolonged instability if the last election outcome was let to stand.

But this time around, we have our own Supreme Court to resolve our election crisis. This is a historic case which is being watched all over Africa and the international community. Nothing like this has happened on our continent.

The new Constitution was not the beginning but the culmination of one great phase of the democratic struggle in Kenya. I am absolutely confident that the promise of that Constitution will be reinforced in the days to come by the Judges of the Supreme Court.

I have repeatedly indicated my commitment to respect and abide by the Supreme Court ruling. I invite my brother Uhuru to publicly do the same.

His joining me would strike a huge blow for the rule of law in Kenya and would also immediately reduce the tensions generated by this election outcome.

Thank you all. God bless Kenya.

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