A showdown looms between the state and the opposition after President Uhuru Kenyatta once again declared that the repeat presidential vote is unstoppable.
In a stern Mashujaa Day message targetted at opposition chief Raila Odinga and his NASA brigade, Uhuru vowed to crush those attempting to sabotage the polls, irrespective of their social status.
Uhuru disclosed that security has been enhanced and appropriately deployed to counter any threats to national security during and after the election.
But Raila –– buoyed by the confessions of top IEBC bosses that the commission could not guarantee free and fair polls –– insisted there would be no election on Thursday next week.
The extreme and irreconcilable positions taken by the country’s top political leaders who command millions of followers, was the clearest signal the country was starring at a deadly clash.
“For those who thrive in chaos and relish anarchy, your days are numbered; the law will take its course and sanction you accordingly,” Uhuru declared as he presided over Mashuja Day celebrations in Uhuru Park yesterday.
The Jubilee administration has been accused of opening fire on civilians protesting against the October 26 vote in what critics have said targets the Luo community.
Yesterday, Raila claimed he had received credible intelligence that the government is deploying the military in his turf.
“But we are not stupid, on the 25th, I will tell you how we shall kill the cat,” Raila said, speaking in riddles.
But a tough-talking Uhuru once again warned those precipitating chaos and threatening and intimidating IEBC officials that their days are numbered.
“For those who wish to vote our guarantee is that there will be adequate security for you to carry out your democratic and constitutional right to vote. Those who wish not to vote I promise you that your rights not to vote shall equally be respected. But we must remember is no right supersedes the other,” he stated.
Uhuru, who snubbed a crisis meeting with Chebukati on Thursday, insisted that the Kenyan economy must move on and the country must be rid of political uncertainty.
Yesterday, it emerged that Raila’s sister and former Kisumu Deputy Governor Ruth Odinga, Kisumu Senator Fred Outa and three MCAs from the lakeside city are in hiding from arrest.
The five are accused of mobilising youths to disrupt IEBC trainings that have largely been paralysed in Nyanza.
It remains unclear how the IEBC will pull off the polls in NASA zones with reports that hundreds of temporary poll officials, especially in Luo Nyanza, have pulled out from the process.
Raila has also announced that NASA will stage what he terms as “the Mother of All Street Protests” on October 26 to push for electoral reforms.
But addressing the nation yesterday, Uhuru warned that the right to picket will only be guaranteed for those operating within the confines of the law.
“Having had uninterrupted electoral cycle for the second time, my Administration will not allow a repeat of the painful past, where lives and property were lost. We vowed never to repeat the regrettable events that almost sunk us,” he said.
“We must, therefore, wake up and say No to any misleading leader out to plunge Kenya into chaos. Kenyans have the choice and means of resisting such leaders and their evil schemes, and should do it now.”
Yesterday was the first time Uhuru came face-to-face with Chief Justice David Maraga –– a Seventh Day Adventist stalwart and a stickler for the law –– who, with three other judges, nullified his presidential victory on September 1.
Throughout the ceremony, Maraga, whom the President had derogatorily lumped with his colleagues as crooks, sat quietly and listened as Uhuru read the riot act.
In what has set the stage for a major confrontation, NASA separately declared that October 26 will mark the launch of “a new and ambitious movement to reclaim the constitutionally guaranteed sovereignty of the Kenyan people.”
Speaking in Bondo and in Kisumu, Raila reiterated that there will be no election.
“We in NASA are prepared to pay any price to safeguard democracy in Kenya. October 26 will test the commitment by all Kenyans and our partners to the principles of democracy and national unity,” said NASA co-principal Musalia Mudavadi.
NASA claimed it has reliable information that 300 military officers have been deployed by the Jubilee administration to supervise the coming election.
Siaya Senator James Orengo said the military officers have been deployed from the Lanet Military Barracks ahead of the polls.
“You [Kenyatta] cannot militarize the election; it is about the ballot and not the bullet. Any elections in which military participate are not elections,” Orengo, the NASA legal brain, said in Bondo.
Chebukati has remained tight-lipped on his game plan after he warned on Wednesday that he would resign if Uhuru and Raila fail to douse the political tension threatening to dismember the nation.
Shortly after the resignation of his ideological soul mate, Roselyne Akombe, Chebukati tore into his colleagues and top secretariat staff, calling them partisan, and pledged he would rather bow out with his name intact than plunge the country into anarchy.
“I am convinced that without critical changes in the key secretariat staff, we may not have a free, fair, and credible election,” Chebukati said, as Akombe separately stressed the IEBC was unable to deliver credible polls without proper reforms.
Heads have since started rolling at the IEBC, with CEO Ezra Chiloba taking three weeks’ leave.
On Thursday Uhuru snubbed a crisis meeting convened by Chebukati and went flat out on a vote-hunting spree.
“We are not interested in telling the IEBC what to do. We want them to prepare so Kenyans can vote on the 26th,” a defiant Uhuru said in Saboti.
Jubilee Party has since moved to the Supreme Court seeking to have Raila and his running mate Kalonzo Musyoka cited for contempt for allegedly sabotaging the fresh polls.