(BBC News) –Raila Odinga, Kenya’s former prime minister and leader of the opposition Cord alliance, has called for mass action to protest against changes to electoral laws ahead of the presidential poll next year.
It follows a bitter dispute in parliament (see previous entry) as the ruling Jubilee party passed a law to allow the use of manual systems during next year’s election.
The government wants a back-up to the electronic system but the opposition says it is a way of rigging the poll.
Writing on his official Facebook page, Mr Odinga said:
” The Jubilee brigade today proved to Kenyans that they have no interest in free and fair elections. In forcing through the amendments to the Election Laws that had been carefully negotiated between all political actors in the country, they revealed the duplicitous nature of this regime.
Mr Odinga then called for “peaceful, non-violent and legal mass action across the country, starting on 4 January, adding:
Elections can no longer be rituals to impose the will of a few on the majority of Kenyans.“
ITS TIME TO STAND UP FOR YOUR COUNTRY
The Jubilee brigade today proved to Kenyans that they have no interest in free and fair elections. In forcing through the amendments to the Election Laws that had been carefully negotiated between all political actors in the country, they revealed the duplicitous nature of this regime.
The massive deployment of armed security personnel in and around Parliament was clearly aimed at intimidating lawmakers to bend to the will of the Executive. Furthermore, the fact that the Speaker allowed certain Jubilee Members of Parliament to access the chambers bearing weapons goes to show that his interest is not in the preservation of peace in the Republic.
The continued unfettered violence against women in the chambers of Parliament under the full glare of the Speaker calls to question whose interest he is serving. The The cutting off of live feeds from the chambers and the assault & harassment of photojournalist by police who captured these events and subsequent deletion of images from their devices speaks to the guilt of Jubilee.
A common misconception our brothers in Jubilee have about democracy is that once people set up institutions, they lose all power over any issues that are meant to be resolved by those institutions.
Yet modern progressive constitutions are very clear that the people are the ultimate authority over any institution set up in the constitution.
It is not a coincidence that the very first Article of our constitution states, “All sovereign power belongs to the people of Kenya and shall be exercised only in accordance with this Constitution”.
Under the Jubilee government however, this trust bestowed upon institutions has been betrayed many times over. Very little regard is given to our national values and principles when institutions are exercising the sovereignty donated to them by the people.
Parliament has been particularly notorious. Using its majority in the Houses, the Jubilee administration has used Parliament to pass laws and motions that compromise the interests of the people on whose behalf Parliament exercises the legislative authority of the Republic.
Our constitution foresaw such possibilities and provided the now-greatly-talked-about rights under Articles 37.
Following the events of the past three days, it is with great disappointment that we as the Coalition for Reforms and Democracy, as well as our partners in other political parties announce that we are going back to the people! It is time for PEACEFUL, NON-VIOLENT AND LEGAL MASS ACTION beginning Wednesday, January 4th, 2017 from 8:00am across all 47 counties of the republic.
Elections can no longer be rituals to impose the will of a few on the majority of Kenyans. We seek to preserve the sanctity of elections and ensure they remain a sacred platform through which Kenyans can elect leaders of their choice.
I say to the long suffering Kenyan people, do not be discouraged; we will wear the anti-reformists down with our capacity to endure and in the process, we will win hearts and minds with that same capacity to endure!