Is NASA plotting to postpone the August 8 polls?

I have listened carefully to the different narratives attributed to Jubilee and NASA on whether the IEBC is prepared to conduct the August 8 polls.

NASA wants Kenyans to believe that the electoral commission is ill-prepared. But the opposition has filed many court cases, creating a lot of hurdles for the IEBC to adequately prepare for the election.

On Wednesday, NASA flagbearer Raila Odinga said “there is increased mobilisation of the military forces in favour of President Kenyatta’s Jubilee”.

He raised similar claims a month ago, where he alleged that the government was recruiting and training some members of the military and police to work as Jubilee agents. This is purely built on speculation. No tangible evidence has been adduced.

The other move regards the queries on the credibility of the the audit of the national voter register, which was carried out by the internationally accredited and renowned audit firm KPMG.

If NASA has its way, then it means the August 8 election will likely be postponed. The date of the election is factored in the Constitution, and can only be altered through a constitutional amendment. This leads to the question, are the concerns raised by NASA so weighty to warrant this constitutional amendment?

The leadership of Jubilee wants the election on August 8 because they strongly believe in the Constitution and the rule of law.

For me, NASA’s stand is bound to raise queries. First, most of their claims are propaganda and meant to mislead and incite Kenyans. When they say members of the disciplined forces are being recruited to man the election and fail to prove the claims, such a message is designed to trigger violence. In the countdown to the 2007 polls, the NASA flagbearer read the same script about use of AP officers. I don’t need to revisit what happened thereafter.

A friend of mine told me a few days ago that Raila has sensed defeat. This explains why NASA is coming up with all manner of excuses that do not really add up. A time has come for security agencies to deal with politicians beating the drums of war. This is the only way to avert a repeat of the 2007 chaos.

He further noted, “Raila wants the election to be postponed so that he can force President Uhuru to accommodate him in a caretaker or interim government”.

My response was simple and clear. If this is the card Raila and his brigade are playing, it is doomed to fail because if the election is postponed, the incumbent government will continue to govern until the polls are held.

For the sake of argument, let us assume the election is postponed. For NASA, it will be a big shame if it still ends up losing.

For me, the concerns NASA has raised are not strong enough to warrant the postponement of the election. These are issues that can be sorted out if formally brought to the attention of the electoral commission.

The IEBC has always demonstrated readiness to listen to them. It has invited the NASA principals to a number of meetings and gave an opportunity to present their grievances.

Notably, NASA, which then operated under the banner of Cord, played a vital role in recruiting, vetting and appointment of the new IEBC commissioners. This process would be preceded by the mass action they organised to push for the hounding out of the Issack Hassan-led commission from office. Again, Raila and his brigade didn’t bother to substantiate their allegations that the Hassan team manipulated the results of the 2013 polls in favour of UhuRuto.

It is worth recalling that Raila lost his petition when they took the matter to the Supreme Court. The highest court in the land upheld Jubilee’s victory. Notably, Raila had played a key role in forming the Hassan team as the Prime Minister. Does this mean he will only support and trust a team that declares him President?

Ours is a participatory democracy where power comes from the people.

Therefore, he should refocus his energy on seeking the mandate of the people. The days when leaders would use short cuts to power and force a ‘Nusu Mkate’ government are long gone.