NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 22 – Prime Minister Raila Odinga now says he does not owe the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) any apology since he has not issued any threats against them due to a difference in the date of the general election.
Speaking during a press briefing on Thursday, the premier said his name was never mentioned in a recording in which IEBC chairman Isaack Hassan referred to threats made against the commission.
The PM described the story as a fabrication which has been manipulated to malign him.
“Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, the chairman of the electoral commission has called me to say that he issued a statement yesterday denying the allegations that was made in the media so it appears there is some kind of conspiracy,” he said.
“The media somehow picked some conversation when the microphone was live when they were talking about certain individuals. There was no name of Raila Odinga in those conversations.”
He stated that he has never intimidated the IEBC in any capacity.
“We had a very civil conversation with the commission when they paid me a courtesy call. There were no disagreements and no intimidation or blackmail. There could never have been,” he said. “They only told me that the commission is an independent body, that they had talked to the president and they came to talk to me on the issue of the election date. I told them our position and he told me the position of the president.”
He pointed out that everyone has a right to express their own opinion and that the media to take care to report events accurately.
“I told him that they were free to make their own judgment as an independent commission but we would also have our own position. I do not know from where the media is inventing this story. Because Mr Hassan issued a statement to that effect yesterday which the media refused to run with,” he explained. “It appears that there is some kind of conspiracy to try to demonise the personality of Raila Odinga.”
He was speaking after signing a Kenya Kwanza’ Charter where he emphasised the need for the country to attain national cohesion ahead of the general election.
The Prime Minister says it would further help if the leadership and integrity clauses in the Constitution were implemented.
He says integrity among leaders will earn them the respect of Kenyans which in turn will translate to trust in the government.
“As a government, if the commission points out cases of politicians who have violated the code or the charter, it is ready to take action. Some politicians have actually been arraigned before a court of law for utterances that have been made inciting communities against one another,” he said.
He further stressed the need for political wars to be fought on a platform of ideologies and not be made tribal.
“Action will be taken in the future if the commission deems it fit. Really it is the responsibility of the commission to act as the police in this case.”
The National Cohesion and Integration Commission vice-chairperson Mary Onyango in the meantime stated the need for Kenyans to live in harmony in the build-up to the general election saying that extra effort should be put forth to avoid a repetition of the 2008 post poll chaos.
“We are walking into an election. We can see the temperatures rising and we can see a repeat of what happened in this country in 2007/2008 and we need to make a deliberate effort as Kenyans to be able to mitigate against the signs that we are seeing,” she said.