NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 13 – It was a game of cat and mouse chase as National Super Alliance tried to outwit the police and gain entry into the Nairobi Central Business District.
Led by Siaya Senator James Orengo and Homa Bay Woman Representative Gladys Wanga, the opposition leaders made several attempts to reach the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission headquarters at Anniversary Towers but were repulsed by police each time.
“If we had been allowed to go to the business area, demonstrating peacefully without interfering with them, this matter would have to an end. We would have made our point,” Orengo said.
“We are determined and these protests will go on until the Government of the Jubilee party decides to listen to us. Because you cannot have an election whose outcome is pre-determined.”
Unlike in the previous Wednesday’s demonstration, there were only a few people accompanying them.
The Central Business District was a no-go zone for the National Super Alliance supporters following Thursday’s ban by Acting Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiangi.
Anti-riot officers dispersed any small group on sight attempting to access the CBD.
But protesters who spoke to Capital FM News said they will not allow the Interior CS to infringe on their rights to demonstrate.
“We want to know whether there was a referendum to amend the Constitution so that demonstrations can be criminalised,” one said.
Another added that: “We have to go to University Way.”
A small group had gathered along Kenyatta Avenue but was dispersed using teargas.
There were also attempts of demonstrations in Mombasa but they were swiftly contained by baton-wielding officers.
The Opposition chief Raila Odinga has declared his withdrawal from the October 26 presidential election citing unfavourable environment.
And in addition to calling for reforms at the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission, Senator James Orengo said they will demonstrate to ensure no election is held without the inclusion of their leader in another repeat presidential poll.
But the electoral body says Odinga will still be on the ballot since he didn’t sign form 24A as required by law.
The Supreme Court said a new election must take place within 60 days but Odinga has demanded fundamental reforms such as the sacking of top IEBC officials and the recruitment of new companies to print ballot papers and run election technology.
While the IEBC has made some concessions to the opposition, it says these demands are impossible to meet in the constitutionally-mandated period.
Odinga has argued that his withdrawal from the race forces the IEBC to cancel the election and begin the whole process from scratch — allowing more time for his reforms.
NASA leaders, however, want the IEBC to cancel the intended October 26 presidential poll and to conduct fresh nominations.
Their demands, they say, are backed by the Constitution.
“The procedure for nomination of presidential candidates is provided for in the Elections Act 2011, Section 13 (1) which states,” he said.
The Elections Act 2011, Section 13 (1) which states: “A political party shall nominate its candidates for an election under this act at least ninety days before a general election under this Act in accordance with its constitution rules.”
“It is clear that this provision gives adequate time to undertake the reforms necessary to conduct an election that is in strict conformity with the Constitution, the relevant laws and the Constitution,” the leaders said.
“This being the case, it is our conviction that our withdrawal is in the best interest of the country and a win-win for everyone.”