If the indicators are anything to go by, Nasa is not going to elections on October 26. What then? The answer to this depends on who you ask. Those on Jubilee side say elections will be held and if Nasa keeps off, Jubilee voters will troop to polling stations and cast ballots for Uhuru Kenyatta who will then be declared winner.
“…Nasa is said to be working on a plan of forming a parallel government if a presidential rerun is held…”
Those on Nasa say elections will not be held and even if elections are held, Nasa will keep off and the exercise will not qualify to be deemed an election by virtue of being a half Kenya affair. What then? A parallel government.
You ask Jubilee followers and they say Uhuru will go on to be sworn the president and then form a government for his last term as president. You ask Nasa and they say if Uhuru forms a government, the government will be illegitimate because it will lack the seal of approval of parts of Kenya. If Uhuru can form a government without being elected properly, they say, so can Raila.
It is against this backcloth that Nasa is said to be working on a plan of forming a parallel government if a presidential rerun is held without Independent Boundaries and Electoral Commission giving in to their demands.
Initially, the Nasa brigade was for a caretaker government but Jubilee pulled a fast one on them when Uhuru returned his ally Justin Muturi as speaker of the national assembly. This dumbfounded Nasa as the constitution stipulates that in case of a vacancy in the president and his deputy’s office, the speaker who is number three in hierarchy, takes charge. It is on this realisation that Nasa is now rooting for a parallel government.
Nasa presidential candidate Raila Odinga and his co-principals Kalonzo Musyoka, Musalia Mudavadi and Moses Wetang’ula have been pushing for the boycott of the rerun and instead called for street demonstrations on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
Jubilee has termed the demonstrations economic sabotage. Questioningly, Raila and his key men including James Orengo have kept off the demonstrations leaving them to what they call foot soldiers and recruits. Nasa wanted to move to Supreme Court to raise concerns on polls preparations but were informed the judges’ ruling had tied their hands and only after rerun is when a petition can be made.
Fear is, with their demands not met and participating in the rerun, with the possibility of history repeating itself, a Nasa loss is bound to complicate matters and lead to bloodshed.
To compound matters is the argument within Nasa to the effect, Raila won August 8 presidency and the refusal by IEBC to open the servers was due to the fear, Supreme Court would have declared him a winner.
To Nasa Supreme Court annulled the results on two grounds. First, it was against the constitution on vote cast records, counted, tallied and announced.
Second, it had to do with laws that govern the process. To them, IEBC officials were sidelined in favour of a clique revolving around Ezra Chiloba to influence results hence the call of CEO’s removal.
Raila team is concerned that ahead of the rerun, procurement of services of France based OT-Morpho at initially Sh900 million being raised to Sh2.5 billion is worrying. To have Al Ghurair Printing and Publishing Company in Dubai print the ballot papers is not convincing.
A source within Nasa revealed that within Jubilee, the idea is to push a rerun without the necessary reforms as ordered by the Supreme Court and have no presidential polls. If it happens, Uhuru will be declared a winner as unopposed and continue ruling.
Nasa’s concern is that the current electoral amendment laws being pushed by Jubilee in parliament timing is suspect. According to the amendments, any judge can swear in the president. Here, Nasa believes Justice Njoki Ndungu and Justice Jackton Ojwang can play ball.
Sources say this is not the first time Raila will be thinking of establishing a parallel government. It is said in the wake of the disputed 2007 elections that ODM was for the idea. The party leadership’s plans to take over the country by forming a parallel government as ODM wrestled president Mwai Kibaki after the disputed polls. The idea was to have all elected MPs rounded up and forced to converge in the old chambers of parliament. Then ODM secretary general Anyang’ Nyong’o was to ask them to sign some form that would have seen ODM form a parallel government. Although some ODM hardliners tried to resist this defiant position, being carried away in the heat of the moment of what they believed was a stolen election, they later came to conclude that such a move would have caused anarchy.
In Ivory Coast, the winner of presidential election set up a parallel government while the incumbent refused to give up power, raising the stakes in a political storm that threatened to tip the nation back into civil war.
Alassane Ouattara, whose victory was recognised by the United States, France and African nations, formed a government in a lagoon-side hotel where the United Nations stepped up security. His prime minister, Guillaume Soro, appointed an emergency cabinet of 13 ministers.
Unlike Ouattara, Raila is under pressure from US, UK, UN and other European Union countries to participate in the rerun which implies he does not enjoy international backing. In fact it is said that the recent withdrawal of security attached to Raila and his allies including ODM governors is of the fear that they may provide security during the swearing-in process. Raila and his allies, it is estimated had close to 1,500 armed security detail. It includes those of MPs, governors and of cause their principals. Think of this, a platoon is a military unit typically composed of two or more squads, sections and patrols. The platoon organisation various as per country but like in US, an infantry platoon has between 40 and 50 soldiers. To state security, Nasa combined security detail could form a platoon of policemen.
In Ivory Coast, the then incumbent president, Laurent Gbagbo, staged an elaborate inauguration ceremony at the presidential palace and appointed his own prime minister, despite being declared the loser. He by then enjoyed the support of the state bureaucracy and the military, which patrolled the streets of Abidjan.
Nasa plan is to form a parallel government immediately and the idea of having an independent electoral commission being the first priority hence the call no IEBC reforms, no elections. The idea being touted is that there is no need to get excited and participate in lost elections.
But where would Nasa get money to run its parallel government? The parallel government will establish an independent treasury.
What about civil service? The parallel government will establish a civil service from day one.
What of security? To Nasa, all these efforts will come to naught without security forces. The next parallel government will engage with foreign governments to get youths trained in different armed and security areas.
Financing a parallel is based on wellwishers. However, talk is that Jubilee fear is that to disperse fund to counties may end up financing Raila’s parallel government. Talk of Nasa enjoying support of Chinese firms out to make lucrative business in the country is also rife.
The government crackdown on local and international NGOs together with civil societies is based on the funding aspect.
But not all is lost even as uncertainty reigns. According to sources well versed with the ongoing talks, momentous efforts are being made to ensure that Uhuru and Raila hardliners drop their stands to allow Kenyans to participate in the forthcoming repeat polls.
The international community is concerned that the only way to avoid a political and constitutional crisis is to ensure both Uhuru and Raila broker a deal through a more open minded approach that will set the stage for a smooth repeat presidential election.
Several big names have been approached to broker the much needed deal within the shortest time possible to avoid the looming political and constitutional crisis.
Former UN secretary general Koffi Anan’s name has been proposed to lead the talks. Those pushing Anan’s name say he understands Kenya’s political terrain having brokered a deal between Raila and Kibaki during a disputed presidential election results in the 2007 general elections.
Those pushing for Anan say he had worked with a number of Jubilee and Nasa allied leaders and brokering a deal will not be hard.
He is known to have direct links with Raila and Uhuru and among the current Jubilee and Nasa leaders he interacted directly during the 2007/2008 Serena talks which he chaired among them William Ruto, Orengo, Musdalia Mudavadi and Kiraitu Murungi.
With these still playing key roles in both Raila and Uhuru campaign teams, it is widely believed that Anan is the best person to broker the peace deal that would save Kenya from any political crisis.
Another big name being proposed is that of former US president Barrack Obama. The UN is said to be keen on Obama considering that he has roots in Kenya.
Obama is known to have a soft spot for Uhuru and Jubilee and relatively not very good rapport with Raila. However, sources say whereas Jubilee side has no problem with Obama, the Nasa side believes Obama is likely to lean towards Jubilee and Uhuru side.
After the IEBC chairman Wafula Chebukati declared Uhuru winner, among the names that was in Jubilee’s list of invitees was Obama. Jubilee had proposed him to grace the swearing in ceremony. Nasa therefore fears that Obama could broker the deal but set terms that are only friendly to Jubilee.
Another name that is being proposed is Jesse Jackson who graced Uhuru swearing-in ceremony at Kasarani where he was listed as special guest to president-elect.
Sources say Jackson and Uhuru are great friends and his intervention could help ease tension between Jubilee and Nasa.
It should be remembered that after the March 4 general elections which Raila and Cord disputed and petitioned at the Supreme Court, it was Jackson who behind the scenes convinced Raila to accept Uhuru’s victory and move on.
Jackson is said to have reached out to Raila and Kalonzo and which later culminated to a meeting at State House one Saturday morning where Uhuru and Ruto hosted Raila and Kalonzo.
Jackson met Raila and Uhuru separately before the State House meeting. Sources say one of the meetings was held at the Muthaiga home of former Nairobi governor Evans Kidero.
It is said that Jackson’s role as a civil rights activist has given him immense contacts and good rapport with many African leaders, and hence all eyes on him to broker the Uhuru-Raila peace deal once more.
Way back in 1998, Jackson visited Kenya three times as President Bill Clinton’s special envoy in an effort to defuse ethnic tensions and keep Kenya’s democratic reforms on track.
During the visit, he visited the Rift Valley, where more than 100 people had been killed in ethnic clashes. He later met Moi at his Kabarak home to deliver Clinton’s special message explaining why the US was expecting “hands-on’’ leadership from Moi in bringing the violence under control.
Former UK prime minister Tony Blair’s name has also featured in the list of respected world leaders being pushed to ensure Kenya remains politically stable ahead of the repeat elections.
He was in the country in 2015 when he was hosted by Uhuru. Sources say both Jubilee and Nasa have no problem with him mediating to defuse tension.
Liberian president Ellen Johnson’s name has also featured prominently as one of the leaders that could be leading talks between Uhuru and Raila. She was recently in the country to a low-keyed reception in what many termed as a private visit.
Sources say she privately and separately met Uhuru and Raila with word doing round that he could have tried to broker the deal. Although details of the two meetings remain scanty, there are whispers that she had been sent by the UN. The last time she was in the country was in December 2015 when she made an official state visit and later attended Jamhuri Day celebrations at Nyayo National Stadium.
In her recent visit, sources say Johnson who is also the chairperson of the Economic Community of West African States met with a number of Kenya’s influential personalities both in the political and business fronts.
What has raised eyebrows is Johnson’s visit to the Jockey Club whose chairman is Joe Wanjui. He is an influential businessman and key political adviser to various political leaders. He is one of Kibaki’s confidante.
It is suspected that Johnson and Wanjui might have been involved in discussions aimed at bringing the two sides to an agreement.
The religious groups have also not been left behind it pushing for means and ways of solving the pending political issues ahead of the elections.
The Catholic Church leadership is said to have petitioned Pope Francis to broker the much needed deal. Pope was in Kenya in 2015 hosted by Uhuru.
The Catholic Church believes that Pope Francis is best suited to convince Uhuru and Raila to stop the unattainable demands they are making. Uhuru is a practicing catholic.
The Anglican Church clergymen led by Archbishop Jackson ole Sapit who had first attempted to broker the deal but failed is also said to be under pressure to reach out to the Archbishop of Canterbury who is the symbolic head of the worldwide Anglican Communion and the diocesan bishop of the Diocese of Canterbury Archbishop is Justin Welby. The Anglican Clergy are for the opinion that Raila being an Anglican, having the Canterbury to intervene could bear fruits.
There have also been calls that His Highness the Aga Khan be involved. Aga Khan has business interests in Kenya and is a key player in the economic development of Kenya.
Tanzanian president John Pombe Magufuli has also been proposed to lead the talks. He is a close ally of Raila.
Raila has dismissed Igad as having taken sides with Jubilee. A statement by the Igad executive secretary Mahboub Maalim read in part: “Sabotaging IEBC or boycotting the elections will put Kenya in a constitutional crisis and likely on a path to an unconstitutional change of government”.
Equally, concerned are the Britain and American governments who are said to be worried of the looming crisis in Kenya. The two have business interests in Kenya running to the tunes of billions of shillings. Their fear, therefore, is that their businesses are likely to suffer should the country face a constitutional and political crisis.
Some of the major firms owed by the British in Kenya include East African Breweries, Unilever Ltd, British American Tobacco among others.
The fear is that a failed presidential election may end up in chaos and violence which might disrupt the transport corridor as was witnessed after the 2007 election. It has also emerged that Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni has also been secretly reaching out to Raila and Uhuru to unlock the stalemate.
Last week, there were whispers that Museveni had dispatched an envoy who met the two leaders earlier last week. But even as the international community is pilling pressure on Raila and Uhuru to tone down and agree on way forward for peaceful elections. Last Kalonzo hinted that Nasa could reduce their demands to two but on condition that Uhuru and Jubilee drop their plans to change the election law.
The international community is said to be reaching out to Uhuru and Raila political allies, personal friends and business associates and their relatives to help them unlock the deadlock.
Although the idea of a parallel government has been dismissed as ridiculously desperate move, it is said that the state is not taking the matter lightly and the DPP’s move last week to threaten to open charges on Raila and Kalonzo could be related to it.