While angrily reflecting upon the string of events that led to the loss of Azimio La Umoja One Kenya Alliance Coalition Party in last year’s poll, one of Raila Odinga’s most staunch supporters laid the blame squarely on the doorstep of his party leader.
Daadab constituency member of parliament Farah Maalim was speaking while making an appearance on KTN News’ political show Siasa Fiesta which was hosted by the station’s presenter Debarl Ainea. Alongside Maalim in the studio were Kitui Central MP Makali Mulu, and former Jubilee Party nominated senator Isaac Mwaura.
Blaming the loss of Raila Odinga on a shambolic agents’ system which ensured that party personnel weren’t spread far and wide enough to protect Raila’s votes, Maalim recalled how he went out of his way and dug into his own pocket to the tune of 15 million in order to dispatch agents who ensured Raila’s votes were protected.
Maalim claimed that so successful was his operation that Ruto garnered only a paltry 500 votes compared to Mr. Odinga’s more than 22,000.
He, however, narrated his consternation after discovering that the party leadership was doing nothing to replicate this at the national level. Maalim argued that Azimio didn’t have enough agents on the ground, and this, caused by unwillingness to spend, consequently led to the party’s defeat.
William Ruto was declared winner of Kenya’s hard-fought presidential poll but then saw the announcement mired in controversy after several members of the election commission rejected the results.
Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) chairman Wafula Chebukati announced that Ruto had won almost 7.18 million votes (50.49 percent) in the August 9 vote, against 6.94 million (48.85 percent) for his rival Raila Odinga. Shortly before his announcement, four out of seven IEBC commissioners said they could not recognise the results, raising rigging fears in the closely-watched poll in the East African political and economic powerhouse.
“I stand before you despite intimidation and harassment. I have done my duty according to the laws of the land,” Chebukati said.
“In accordance with the law, I… hereby declare that Ruto William Samoei has been duly elected as the president.”
But in a shock announcement, IEBC vice chair Juliana Cherera told reporters that she and three of her colleagues could not “take ownership of the result that will be announced,” calling the process “opaque”.
“However we have an open door that people can go to court and because of the same we urge Kenyans to be peaceful because the rule of the law is going to prevail,” she added.
As confusion reigned, scuffles broke out at the IEBC’s heavily guarded national tallying centre in Nairobi, where some people were seen throwing chairs shortly before Chebukati’s announcement.
Although the poll passed off largely peacefully in Kenya, memories of vote-rigging and deadly violence in 2007-08 and 2017 still loomed large.
The IEBC had been under intense pressure to deliver a clean election after it faced stinging criticism of its handling of the 2017 election.
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