If everything remains constant, it is clear that Nasa candidate Raila Odinga will not take part in the October 26 election. What he has said is that there will be no election, but remains cagey on how he will ensure this.
Raila and his Nasa colleagues have stated categorically that if their demands, dubbed ‘irreducible minimums’, are not met in totality, there will be no election.
To most observers, some of them are outright unreasonable in the time frame we have.. For instance, replacing the technology provider OT Morpho, would probably take a whole year. Replacing Safaricom, as Raila has also demanded, will realistically never happen, unless we do away with result transmission. The same case with replacing printer Al Ghurair with just a few weeks left.
When it comes to personnel, it would be possible for CEO Ezra Chiloba and other staff to leave, but from the signals we’re getting, Chiloba will not budge… at least not before October 26. Last week as Nasa protested near Anniversary Towers, Chiloba seemed calm and composed as he watched from his office window, attending to an interview by KTN.
So, has Raila boxed himself in a corner? Has he revealed all his cards?
To many people, his demands are a surefire sign that he doesn’t want an election on October 26th. He knows they are impossible to meet by October 26th, and is likely trying to buy himself time for a repeat election maybe in 2018.
But Jubilee has swung into action to outmaneuver the Nasa leader.
Having already displayed their distrust for the courts, and knowing too well that the election might be pushed forward again by the judiciary, Jubilee wants to stop this by way of law.
Currently, there is uncertainty on what would happen should Raila pull out from the race, say on 24th. Nasa is not short of lawyers who can argue at that point that the election must be postponed.
But now through the Election Laws (Amendment) Bill, Jubilee wants to make it clear that should a candidate withdraw in writing, the election will continue as planned with the remaining candidates.
If there are only two candidates in the race, like it is the case now, the bill states that the remaining candidate shall be declared elected forthwith, without any election being held. But in this case, if Raila withdraws but fails to put it in writing, the election on 26th will take place as planned.
The same amendment bill also contains other proposals, like which between manual and electronic is supreme. Jubilee has stated that they are still listening to suggestions and are open to making changes. But there is a feeling that no matter what changes they drop, this section that effectively ‘traps’ Raila into participating in the election will remain. In some sense, this part is seen as Uhuruto’s ‘irreducible minimum’ to their party members. And with Jubilee enjoying a huge majority, it is now a matter of when not if the bill will pass.
As all this is happening though, some battles are expected to shift to the courts, with Nasa and the civil society keen to elect as many roadblocks as possible. Unlike before August 8, Jubilee has also decided to engage Nasa in the courts, also filing case after case to keep the opposition busy.
For instance, through Pokot South MP David Pkosing, the party has moved to court to compel Raila to take part in the election. The MP wants the court to declare it an act of treason if Raila continues with his ‘no election’ threats yet refuses to withdraw from the race. His concern is that Raila may mobilize his supporters to disrupt voting in their strongholds, to try and delegitimize the entire process.