, NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 24 – The Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA) has said Thursday’s fresh presidential poll should go on as planned despite boycott calls from the Opposition and some quarters who want the election date postponed.
Calls for the postponement of the repeat poll have been led by Opposition leader Raila Odinga who has remained insistent that he will not participate in an exercise which is already pre-determined.
Odinga who has been vocal on the subject has said he will only engage his main challenger, incumbent President Uhuru Kenyatta, in the poll only if his demands which he has described as ‘irreducible minimums’ are met, one of which includes changing some of the IEBC Commissioners.
Speaking on Tuesday during a press briefing, Vice Chairman of the sector, Patrick Obath said they are in support of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) decision to have the election on Thursday and that those threatening to boycott the exercise should do so peacefully as they are exercising their right.
“We cannot be a country that makes acceptable the disregard and disobedience of court orders that the IEBC organise an election within 60 days of September 1, 2017 and until the Supreme Court vacates this order, it is upon all Kenyans to obey it,” said Obath.
Obath noted that those aggrieved by the date should address their concerns through proper channels instead of engaging in threats and intimidation which will ultimately yield no fruit.
“We are aware of the issues raised by those who do not support the holding of this election. These Kenyans have a right to hold these views. We urge all those who feel aggrieved for whatever reason to resort to the judiciary to address their grievances,” he said.
Odinga who had vowed last week to hold the mother of all demonstrations during voting day made an about turn Tuesday where he appealed to his supporters to stay put and not to take to the streets and instead stay away from polling stations.
In an interview with BBC Africa on Tuesday, Odinga said the Opposition alliance had only urged its supporters to keep off from polling stations on Election Day.
“We’ve not told people to demonstrate on the polling day. We’ve not said that at all; we told people to stay away,” the NASA presidential candidate told BBC.
Odinga accused the ruling Jubilee Party of attempting to intimidate Opposition supporters insisting that he shall not be cowed to participate in what he has termed as a sham election.
“There are two forces here; those who want to go on with a sham election irrespective of the consequences and those who are saying no, it is not right,” he said during the interview.
Obath at the same time urged Kenyans to think beyond the election and look at the wider goal of building a cohesive, united and prosperous nation.
“We wish all Kenyans those who wish to vote and those who choose for whatever reason not to vote a peaceful election during which we will demonstrate our maturity by allowing all to proceed as they wish to do without infringing on the rights of others,” said Obath.