, NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 17- Prime Minister Raila Odinga has now declared his stance over the next poll date saying a December 2012 election is the best option for Kenyans.
Through a statement sent to newsrooms on Saturday morning, the Prime Minister ruled out any other alternative election dates including a March 2013 one saying it would interfere with the schools’ calendar.
He argued that March polls would be grossly inconveniencing for the country’s academic systems as it would mean campaigning and voting in the midst of a school term.
“Since schools are routinely used as polling stations, this could be a cause of inconveniences and disruptions to learning. March campaigns and elections would also fall in the middle of a critical time in the calendar of most farmers in the country,” he argued.
The statement also revealed that the premier had already stated his position to the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission, which later on Saturday declared polls would be held on March 4, 2013.
Raila further argued that a March poll would unnecessarily prolong the life of the current Parliament and Executive while cutting short the terms of the incoming ones.
“Even more important, elections in March will mean will prolonging the life of the current Parliament and administration, while cutting the life of the next Parliament by several months. The PM finds this self serving and unjustifiable,” read the statement.
He also pointed out his preference for a December election saying Kenyans were familiar with the date as all other elections, since 1992, had been held at the time.
He added that a December poll generally suited the calendar of voting for Kenyans and it enabled them to start a new year with a new government every five years.
“The Prime Minister made this position clear to members of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission who met him at his offices yesterday, March 16, 2012 in the late afternoon,” he indicated.
Last week, President Mwai Kibaki gave a strong indication that he was in favor of a 2013 poll saying the High Court ruling on the matter should be respected.
He said that he had no intention of going against the ruling, which gave the electoral body the authority to set the poll date within 60 days after the expiry of the term of the current Parliament.
“That is a decision of the court and I cannot change that. It is important to reiterate that the courts ruled that elections will be held in March 2013,” he asserted last Friday.
However, his position on the matter at first appeared to be in favor of a 2012 election before he ruled it out.
“Mimi si kusema tutachaguana mwaka huu. (I did not see we will have elections this year),” he told a gathering in Sagana.
“Hapana, hio ni porojo,mimi sijasema hayo, koti ishasema na sisi tutafuata hayo…hayo mengine ni porojo na hao wanasema wako hapa hapa,” (Those are rumors, I did not say that. The court ruled and that is what we will follow, the rest are rumors and those saying that are here,” he said.
The Head of State retracted from his earlier statement which was unclear if he meant elections would be end of this year or early next year.
He had been quoted as having said in Kiswahili, “Kama tutachaguana tutachaguana mwisho wa mwaka huu… in the new year… si ndio… (If we will have elections, it will be at end of this year… next year… isn’t it?)”