In fact, Western envoys in Kenya are filing briefs to their capitals and are secretly warning their citizens not to visit Kenya until after the general elections. Asian businessmen are already relocating their families as the D-day approaches. They are set to join friends and relatives in neighbouring countries like Uganda and Tanzania with those able flying to Europe and Asia.
By his utterances, the opposition leader has been setting the ground for rejection of the outcome of the presidential race if it does not favour him.
Already, Raila Odinga has warned that the National Super Alliance will call for mass protests if the August 8 elections are rigged, comments which have scared Kenyans fearful of a repeat of the widespread violence that erupted after a disputed poll in 2007 where more than 1,200 people were killed in weeks of ethnic clashes after the ODM leader refused to concede defeat to then incumbent Mwai Kibaki.
Last week, Raila Odinga rekindled the ghosts of 2007 polls when he claimed that the Kenya Defence Forces, National Police Service, regional coordinators and county commanders have been mobilised and are being trained at Nairobi’s Embakasi Barracks to help tilt the elections outcome in favour of the Jubilee Party.
“The trainings have every semblance with what was done at the same venue in the lead up to the 2007 general elections in which APs were later dispersed as election officials and poll agents for the Party of National Unity (then Kibaki’s party),” Raila Odinga told journalists at his Capitol Hill offices.
“A series of meetings of officers from the National Intelligence Service have taken place with the sole purpose of coming up with a plan to help Jubilee retain power at all costs, particularly in the event that the courts maintain that results declared at the constituency level are final,” he went on.
The former prime minister alleged that the meetings are being held in Naivasha, followed by frequent consultations under the chairmanship of former Chief of General Staff Julius Karangi to actualise the plan developed by the NIS.
The opposition chief has further claimed that some presidential ballot papers to be used in the rigging of the elections have been printed by the Dubai firm contracted by IEBC to print ballot papers, adding that Jubilee Party leaders have had longstanding relationship running into more than three years and had held at least two meetings with Al Ghurair Printing and Publishing LLC owners to discuss the award of the tender. The claims have since been dismissed by both the government and IEBC as far-fetched.
Raila claims mirror those he made prior to the 2007 elections where he stated that administration police offices and the military were being used to not only guard Kibaki’s votes but also to influence the counting of votes and the elections process in the opposition strongholds.
Following his comments, Nyanza residents attacked buses carrying APs accusing them of plotting to rig the polls which resulted in the death of two officers.
And in his testimony before Justice Phillip Waki commission which investigated the cause of the violence that ensued after the elections in 2007, Anyang’ Nyongo’, claimed there were massive transfers of police and APs to ODM strongholds and selected people from Central Kenya to assist in voter manipulations and to violently suppress the attendant protests. Nyong’o said two certain bus companies were transporting APs carrying ballot papers to be stuffed in ballot boxes. Two APs who had been deployed to Migori to guard polling centres were killed by a mob on arrival at the Migori bus stop. No ballot papers were found on them.
About 1,133 Kenyans lost their lives and more than 650,000 others were displaced in the postelection violence that resulted after Kibaki was declared the winner.
Raila’s allegations come hot on the heels of an interview he granted AFP (Agence France Presse) where he stated that any outbreak of clashes would be difficult to control if the country does not hold free and fair elections, noting that he suspects something sinister is afoot at the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission after the body dismissed two senior officials in the space of a week.
But this is not the first time the opposition leader is making unsubstantiated allegations. On July 12 2007, Raila Odinga claimed that the government was withholding identity cards from voters in opposition strongholds. By then, his opposition union with Kalonzo Musyoka was breaking up which he again interpreted as another scheme aimed at skewing the election in favour of Kibaki. Kalonzo later contested for the presidency on ODM-Kenya after Raila decamped to ODM and later was appointed vice president. Raila Odinga would later join Kalonzo and Kibaki in coalition government.
The opposition chief was at it again on December 22 2007 when he made another sensational claim that the government was plotting to rig him out of the Lang’ata seat by using Administration Police officers, warning that there would be chaos if the government attempted to rig the elections.
Raila Odinga went on to win the constituency election but lost the highly disputed presidential poll to Kibaki and immediately all hell broke loose as chants of “No Raila, No Peace!” rented the air.
In the grand coalition government where he was a co-principal with Kibaki, he shocked the country on February 21 2013 after calling reporters to assert that senior civil servants were approaching his MPs to ditch his Cord outfit, adding that the government, which he was part of as prime minister, was working with IEBC to rig in Uhuru and Ruto who were then facing crimes charges against humanity at the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands.
A year earlier, Raila Odinga had referred to the Supreme Court as bogus court (mahakama bandia) after a January 13 2012 ruling on the date of the general election where the court ruled that the election could be held within 60 days of the expiry of parliament’s term on January 15 2013, or in 2012 if the two principals – him and Kibaki- dissolved the coalition government in writing.
The opposition leader had again on March 17 2012 denounced the IEBC after it announced that elections would be held on March 4 2013 following the court ruling. Speaking in Kisii that weekend, Raila said the IEBC is interpreting a decision by a rogue court.
According to his critics, Raila Odinga has sensed defeat in the polls which explains why he’s attacking all independent institutions without giving a second thought to the possible repercussions.
When his Okoa Kenya initiative flopped after failing to get one million Kenyans to support the referendum drive, he immediately launched a scathing attack on the IEBC, accusing the electoral body of being controlled by the ruling Jubilee coalition.
The opposition chief insisted that Isaac Hassan-led electoral commissioners had to go home as they lacked the impartiality to referee an electoral contest between the opposition and Jubilee.
Raila insisted that Hassan’s personal attacks on his character during the 2013 presidential petition exposed his bias. During the Supreme Court hearing on Raila’s petition, Hassan in an affidavit stated: “It is high time we called a spade a spade as we deconstruct the issues that define the petitioner’s well-known pattern of refusing to concede defeats. The petitioner has never conceded or accepted the will of the people as expressed in the outcome of the 1997, 2007 and now the 2013 general election.”
Political analysts say Raila has a habit of stagemanaging events to win sympathy. For instance, on October 5 2002, Raila who was then Kanu secretary-general gunmen had his car sprayed with bullets while it was being driven on its way to Nairobi from Garissa town. Interestingly, during the brief encounter which left the car with six bullet marks, the three occupants in Raila’s personal car, including the driver, George Opondo, escaped unhurt.
The opposition leader after the historic 2005 referendum where his side which opposed the Wako Draft won, he made a sensational claim that he had received assassination threats and was constantly being pursued by men in unmarked vehicles. His allegations were dismissed by the police together with the then government spokesman Alfred Mutua. The former prime minister had told the police he believed his life was in danger after being sacked from the cabinet.
And in the twilight era of Kibaki, former Foreign Affairs minister and now Nasa Kisii county ODM senatorial candidate Sam Ongeri found himself battling allegations that he was involved in a plot to assassinate Raila who was then the prime minister.
The allegations had been made by Raila’s sidekick, Jakoyo Midiwo who alleged that a meeting had been held by two ministers, a senior security officer and a permanent secretary to plan how to eliminate Raila as the last option in clearing the presidential succession race. To date, Raila has never proved the numerous allegations.