Melodramatic episodes define political impasse

The electioneering period leading to the August 8 General Election and after the Supreme Court nullified the re-election of President Uhuru Kenyatta has been marked by drama, shifts and showmanship. The theatrics started early in the year when Nasa candidate Raila Odinga told supporters that if results did not go their way, going to the Supreme Court “is not an option for us”.

Instead, they would demonstrate, strike and carry out acts of civil disobedience to seek for redress, though this was more of an insinuation, rather than overt threats. Indeed, the protests took place after the results were announced but after IEBC announced Uhuru Kenyatta as the winner, Nasa caught a number of people by surprise after they appealed the outcome at the Supreme Court.

The turnabout caught everyone by surprise. Or was it part of the game plan? “Our decision to go to court constitutes a second chance for the Supreme Court. The court can use this chance to redeem itself or, like in 2013.

It can compound the problems we face as a nation,” said Raila. It was a case of déjà vu for Jubilee when Nasa announced it would go to the Supreme Court to challenge the decision.

All along, the ruling party had insisted that Nasa should go to court if they feel aggrieved with the outcome of the elections. But when the Supreme Court majority bench nullified the elections, Uhuru said he disagreed with the decision insisting that he won the August 8 polls owing to the majority of Jubilee Party members in both the National Assembly and Senate and also governors.

“I don’t agree with the ruling of the Supreme Court but I respect it,” he said. But Nasa did not take its victory in their stride. Both Raila Odinga and Senator James Orengo said that while they welcomed the ruling, they still insisted that they have no faith that IEBC has the capacity to conduct fresh polls. “We have no faith in IEBC who committed criminal acts and they belong to jail.

We will ask for prosecution of all the officials who have caused this,” Raila said at the time. Nasa then came up with a raft of what came to be famously referred to as “irreducible minimums” that must be met before they can accept to go for fresh elections.

Obviously, more drama was in the pipeline. Nasa initially announced once-a-week demos to push for their demands, but the number was increased to twice a week, thrice and then finally daily.

However, before this could be rolled out, Raila postponed the demos ostensibly to “mourn victims” of the protests. A few days later, demos were announced to start again this week leading to what they called “the mother of all demonstrations” today. However, Raila on Tuesday denied calling for demos on polling day.

Another inexplicable flip-flop added drama to the politics of the day. “We have not told people to demonstrate on the polling day. We have not said that at all. All we have told our people is to stay away,” said Raila on Tuesday in an interview with the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC).

Jubilee was also caught making an about turn after Uhuru and his deputy William Ruto said they were not ready to meet IEBC chair Wafula Chebukati, insisting they had no demands or conditions.

However, on Monday, UhuRuto met IEBC and repeated their message that they had no demands on the electoral body, other than meeting its obligation of conducting fresh presidential elections today as ordered by the Supreme Court.

But the Nasa brigade was not through with melodrama, and was caught in yet another flip-plop. Before Raila announced his withdrawal from the race, Nasa had supported presidential aspirant Ekuru Aukot who had sought to be included on the ballot.

But immediately, the prayer was granted, ODM moved to the Court of Appeal, through lawyer Nelson Havi to overturn Judge John Mativo’s decision that allowed Aukot and six others to participate in the fresh polls slated for October 26.

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