Uhuru Kenyatta's party now sues Raila Odinga over poll impasse

Thursday October 19 2017

Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila Odinga.

President Uhuru Kenyatta and Nasa leader Raila Odinga. They failed to agree on electoral reforms before repeat poll. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By PATRICK LANG'AT
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President Uhuru Kenyatta's Jubilee Party has filed a contempt of court case against opposition Nasa leader Raila Odinga on his no elections call.

Jubilee's secretary-general Raphael Tuju alleges that Mr Odinga and his running mate Kalonzo Musyoka are in contempt of the Supreme Court order for a fresh presidential poll.

Kenya's highest court annulled the August 8 re-election of President Kenyatta on September 1 and directed the electoral commission IEBC to conduct a repeat poll within 60 days.

In the petition filed on Thursday, Mr Tuju said that Nasa leaders were leading their supporters in "violent protests" aimed at "intimidating the IEBC and ensure that the court's orders are not implemented."

Further, he said, that the opposition has obstructed the training of election officials in its strongholds in western Kenya.

However, legal experts say the case is ill-advised as the Supreme Court order was to the IEBC and not Mr Odinga and Mr Musyoka.

No meeting

The re-run is set for October 26 but Mr Odinga has pulled out, alleging a failure to improve oversight of the election, casting doubt on how the vote will proceed.

Election board chairman Wafula Chebukati, in a stark message to political leaders on Wednesday, said he could not guarantee a credible vote under present conditions, and demanded Mr Kenyatta and Mr Odinga meet him for talks.

But at a press briefing Thursday, Mr Tuju dismissed Mr Chebukati's calls for a meeting with the head of State over the poll impasse.

"As a referee, he (Mr Chebukati) cannot call the teams and ask them: Hey guys, when do you want us to hold the elections? What rules should we use? In other words, there is no room for dialogue," Mr Tuju said.

He added that the IEBC "has to hold elections without consultation with anyone".

"The President and the Nasa candidate do not have powers to define the rules of the game. Where there is doubt or ambiguity, it is the duty of the Supreme Court to address it," he said.

-Additional reporting by Reuters.