NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 21 – Prime Minister Raila Odinga was on the spot on Wednesday after allegations emerged that he was coercing the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission to abandon its proposed March 4, 2013 elections date.
A group of Members of Parliament demanded that the PM makes a public apology to the commission, saying it was unfortunate that he could be embroiled in such a scam.
“The fear that we have is that if we ignore these small signs we could find ourselves in difficulties. It is upon us to expose them! Tinkering with the IEBC is suicidal to this country, we must ensure that we don’t discredit it,” Ndaragwa MP Jeremiah Kioni told a news conference at Parliament buildings.
MPs Chachu Ganya (North Horr) and Abdi Nuh (Bura) said that the Prime Minister has lately displayed total lack of respect for independent institutions.
“IEBC is an institution we made from scratch, and the PM has a duty to uphold and honour institutions which he took under this Constitution,” said Ganya.
“No one in the country regardless of his position in government – be it the president PM or MP- has the right to issue threats to members of our independent commissions because this will give Kenyans the perception that they don’t have to abide by the law we set,” said Nuh.
The legislators were referring to a video clip aired by KTN on Tuesday which captured a conversation between the IEBC chairman and Commissioners Lillian Bokeeye and Muhamed Hussun in which the three admit to receiving threats from the ODM camp over the election date.
Naivasha MP John Mututho asked the PM to allow the institutions created by the passage of the new constitution to function without any form of interference.
“The fact that it comes from someone inside the IEBC, proves our worst fears, that someone still has that bad dream of interfering with elections,” the Naivasha MP said.
“We want to send a very serious caution and particularly to the PM, if truly he is interfering with the IEBC, then he better quit politics and go do business or anything else, so that we can have free and fair elections.”
Meanwhile speaking in Meru, Education Minister Sam Ongeri and Imenti North MP Silas Muriuki said the electoral body was only following the guidance of the court and should not be condemned.
“Kenyans moved to court and a ruling was made. This was the verdict of the court. IEBC is responsible for the elections and was out to ensure we have a smooth exercise,” said Prof Ongeri.
The two leaders lashed out at Odinga for appearing to belittle the court by dismissing the ruling as “fake”.
“It is unfair for the PM to disparage courts. The Judiciary has undergone vigorous vetting and calling it fake is not right. We should keep the Judiciary out of politics. We should accept the IEBC’s decision,” said Muriuki.