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What does Raila really mean by free and fair elections - Analyst

2017-07-17T09:47:08.548+0000 Kaka Mwalimu

NASA presidential candidate Raila Odinga raises his fist among supporters in a rally. [Photo/redpepper.co.ug]

NASA presidential candidate Raila Odinga has repeatedly stated that he will only concede defeat in the August 8, polls if and only if IEBC conducts free and fair elections.

However, according to political pundit Mr Ngunjiri Wambugu, what Raila really means by free and fair polls is a case of the devil is in the details, as they say, because the former Prime Minister does not explain nor respect who is mandated to defines what is ‘free and fair’.

"My first assumption is that elections are free and fair as defined by the law. This means that the person who makes this call is the IEBC. However, Raila has spent the last four years bastardising this institution. I, therefore, highly suspect that even if it gave the election a clean bill of health, Raila will not take its word for it," said Wambugu.

Wambugu also questioned Odinga's sentiments on the Judiciary which is another body mandated by law to determine what is free and fair.

"The Judiciary – especially the Supreme Court that was set up specifically to deal with presidential petitions –would be where one would then expect Raila to go if the election looked ‘fishy’ to him. He is, however, on record saying he will not go to court this time if he is not happy with the election," he added.

So in essence, Wambugu hypothesises that what Odinga really means by 'free and fair' is not the results announced by IEBC, nor the ruling by the courts in the case of an election petition nor the opinion of local and international election observers but the results from his parallel tallying center.

"Raila will depend on his political system to make this determination. Raila will then collect his own election results from the more than 33,000 polling stations, tally them in his private tallying centre, and announce them. He will then only accept the election is free and fair if the official tally from the IEBC corresponds to his own personal tally," said Wambugu.

"If it does not, he will then claim the election was not free and fair. This looks like the option Raila would prefer. The only problem with this option is that nothing stops him from cooking figures to his benefit. It is also illegal," he added.

Wambugu warns that if Odinga is allowed to pursue his own way of determining what is free and fair then the country may face back at the ugly face of the 2007/08 polls.

"If Raila decides that the election is not free and fair – according to him – then what? Will ‘Kenya burn’ as his key adviser David Ndii tweeted? Will ‘some people have to die’ as his Nairobi ODM chairman George Aladwa said? What does I will not concede’ actually mean? Is it violence and destruction in Kenya? Where? By whom? On whom?"

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