*STATEMENT BY RT. HON. RAILA ODINGA ON START OF PUBLIC CONSULTATIONS ON THE STATE OF THE NATION*:
*DECEMBER 2, 2022*.
As was expected, the Justice and Legal Affairs Committee of the National Assembly has recommended the formation of a tribunal to kick out the four IEBC commissioners.
The outcome was pre-determined and there was clearly no need for JLAC to spend taxpayers’ purporting to be giving a hearing to the four commissioners.
We have said before and we will say it again. The tribulations of the commissioners are not about 2022 elections. This is about 2027 elections.
That is why it is not Wafula Chebukati facing JLAC despite being indicted by the Supreme Court. The four are being forced out because William Ruto and the UDA administration want a clean slate at the IEBC and fill it with his stooges and henchmen for 2027 elections.
Mr. Ruto wants to rig 2027 elections in 2022.
The UDA is on the campaign trail for 2027 in 2022. If that is what the administration has decided to prioritize, we are ready to join them down that path.
As Azimio Party, our concern and fear is that we have been here before. We were here in 2007 when the Kibaki administration singled handedly picked IEBC officials ahead of elections. We protested. We were called names. We were told the administration was acting within the law. That single undertaking, when it was over, left more than 1300 Kenyans dead, pulled thousands of Kenyans out of their homes and drove the economy into the gutters through post-election violence.
As happened back then, UDA is amending the laws governing the appointment of IEBC commissioners to allow the administration complete leeway to pack the commission with its henchmen. We have gone back way before the IPPG deal that allowed the government and Opposition specific numbers at the Commission.
As Azimio Party, we wish to underscore that Ruto has taken a machete to hack to pieces and mutilate the 2010 constitution, which he did not support.
We are witnessing the emergence of a darker form of dictatorship than what we witnessed under Kanu.
We in Azimio are here to let Kenyans know that with the benefit of history, we are going to protest and resist much more strongly than we did in 2007 because we now know just how wrong this can go if we do not stop it now.
So, we appeal to Kenyans to get us right and clear. This is not about the four commissioners. This is about 2027 elections that could go terribly wrong if we let the Ruto administration get away with the fires they are lighting.
This is about resisting the capture and emasculation of key institutions that need their independence to stand up for the country when need be.
We need to jealously preserve and protect the independence of our institutions. In 2020, we witnessed strong and independent US institutions stand up to protect integrity of elections and preserve democracy despite extreme pressure by a section of the Executive.
That is what we need here. It is what we are launching the fight for here, today.
The Judiciary has been captured. The criminal justice system is collapsing. That is why cases are rapidly being dropped, criminals being celebrated and turned into prosecution witnesses.
The security sector is being targeted and intimidated so that it can be captured. IEBC is being intimidated so that it can be captured fully. Parliament is half gone through bribery and blackmail. MPs are being bought to shift sides and to ratify the agenda of the Executive.
If all these institutions submit to UDA’s schemes, we are in real danger of losing everything we have fought for and won over the last 30 years.
We are in real danger of sliding back to the 1980s.
As Azimio, we are here to announce our readiness to stop that slide in to the past. We are here to announce that we are rolling up our sleeves to stop the Ruto administration from taking us back to the days when Parliament changed or enacted very serious laws within minutes, at the behest of the Executive.
We are here to announce that we will stop this country from going back to the days when Judiciary heard cases in the middle of the night and dispensed sentences prescribed by the Executive. We are here to announce that we will not allow this regime to take us back to the days when police were mere hit squads doing the bidding of the president.
We are witnessing extremely skewed appointments to public office by this administration.
We are here to announce that we will not allow this country to return to the era when public service was ran by members of one or two communities because the president was insecure and saw enemies out of every tribe other than his.
We are here to stop a return to one man rule, a rule through Executive fiat.
As we talk now, we are told a ship has docked in Mombasa with thousands of tonnes of maize. That importation came through Executive fiat.
We maintain our rejection of GMO foods and crops. Azimio therefore calls on patriotic Kenyans to be vigilant and stop the Ruto administration from dumping that maize at the port until we know its nature.
I have been around with you for long. Millions of you voted for me in the last election. We won that election. Millions of you call me Baba.
I raise these issues because I have witnessed a dictatorship emerge and bloom. I have witnessed self-proclaimed god-fearing leaders preside over the persecution, false prosecution and even murder of innocent Kenyans. I have witnessed an insecure administration run our economy to the drains.
Those who witnessed this era with me should tell our young people the painful struggle it took to get the freedom we have today. Let’s share our eye witness accounts and experiences of that era with our children. There is real danger that we are heading back to the 1980s. We should be ready and willing to work with those sections of our society that have always stood up for the nation when perils reared their head; the civil society, faith leaders, the academia and workers unions.
I would not wish any Kenyan to go through what some of us have been through. But I am fearing for Kenya. I am fearing for my country. We have to stand up now, because later, will be too late
That’s why from today, we announce the launch of that pushback we talked about a few days ago.
On 7th of December, at the historic Kamukunji grounds here in Nairobi, we will launch public consultations with the people of Kenya to brainstorm on the direction the country is taking.
We will return to the Kamukunji grounds on 12th December to continue with these consultations on the state of the Kenyan nation.
Finally, we wish to remind Mr. Ruto that this country has had a system like the one he is trying to reinvent. We fought that system. We brought down that system. We will do so to the one he is inventing now. We will bring it down.
Let us all stand up for our country before it is too late.