On July 12, 2007, with President Mwai Kibaki’s re-election bid drawing close, ODM leader Raila Odinga went on national TV and claimed that the government was withholding identity cards from voters in Opposition strongholds.
According to Raila, whose Opposition union with the likes of Kalonzo Musyoka was breaking up, this was aimed at skewing the election in favor of Kibaki.
On December 22, 2007, the ODM presidential candidate made another sensational claim that the government was plotting to rig him out of the Lang’ata constituency seat by using Administration Police officers. Raila also warned that there would be chaos if the government attempted to rig the 2007 General Election.
Raila went on to win the constituency election but lost the highly disputed presidential poll to Kibaki and immediately all hell broke loose in Kenya as chants of “No Raila, No Peace!” filled the air. Over the next six months, we lost 1,500 of our citizens and 650,000 others were displaced from their homes.
On February, 21, 2013, Raila Odinga called reporters again and claimed that senior civil servants were approaching his MPs to ditch his CORD outfit. He then claimed that the government, which he was part of as Prime Minister, was working with IEBC to rig in Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto.
A year earlier, Raila had referred to the Supreme Court as Korti ya Bandia (Kangaroo Court) after a January 13, 2012 ruling on the date of the General Election. The court had ruled that the elections could be held within 60 days of the expiry of term of Parliament on January 15, 2013, or in 2012 if Raila and Kibaki dissolved the coalition government in writing.
On March 17, 2012, IEBC announced that elections would be held on March 4, 2013 following the court ruling. Speaking in Kisii that weekend, Raila said the IEBC was interpreting a decision by Korti ya Bandia.
The pattern is clear, Raila Amollo Odinga is a man who will attack all institutions without giving a second thought on the possible repercussions. In fact, one would wonder how the former Prime Minister expects the same institutions to respect him as President, if he ever becomes one and which seems like never.
As we head to the August elections, sensing defeat, Raila has decided to use the tactic of attacking each and every institution in this country. He launched an attack on the Judiciary when he lost the 2013 petition where he couldn’t prove his allegations and continues to do so whenever the court does not rule in his favor.
When his Okoa Kenya initiative fell through because he and other opposition politicians could not get one million Kenyans to support their referendum drive, he launched a scathing attack on the IEBC.
Today, we have new IEBC Commissioners and he is still on the electoral commission’s case with the latest sensational claim that the National Intelligence Service is using BVR kits to register foreigners. His claims are not only absurd but make one wonder why someone would want to discredit the institutions that Kenyans look up to on a daily basis.
NIS has never had a role in the electoral process other than briefing the various relevant bodies on security threats that may interfere with the processes. Claiming that NIS is registering foreigners without producing an iota of evidence is one irresponsible action on the part of the former prime minister.
Raila must stop intimidating Kenyans and the various institutions that are working for them. He must allow Kenyans to exercise their democratic right without threats whether on the various institutions or on Kenyans.
As a national leader, Raila should be working on not only uniting Kenyans but also ensuring that Kenyans grow their faith and confidence in institutions. His remarks today ring similar to those that he made 10 years ago and which led to the post-election violence.
(The writer is a political and communications consultant. Twitter @MachelWaikenda)