Silly organisational blunders cost Raila what was an ‘easy win’

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By Kenyatta Otieno

I believe there were glaring anomalies in the tallying process of presidential vote by IEBC. However, that does not exonerate Nasa, Raila Odinga and his campaign team from incompetence during this election period. At the core of it is Raila’s belief that the devil is in the systems and structures of governance and not the people. Prior to the August 8 elections, the Coalition of Reforms and Democracy (Cord), the precursor to Nasa, had pushed for reforms in IEBC. New commissioners were appointed and the law amended to improve efficiency in our electoral system. What Raila forgot is that a system is only as good as the people manning it.

When the Court of Appeal upheld the decision of the High Court that results announced at the polling station and confirmed by the Constituency Returning Officer are final, Nasa supporters were ecstatic. This ruling was to them a hedge against rigging, as people believed results get edited at the national tallying centre. Coupled with the assurance from IEBC that biometric identification would be used and voting will be done per stream – and each stream will have 700 voters – Nasa believed that voting would end early and counting would be done before midnight. Then results began streaming in on August 9, and it was then that NASA realised that there is more to credible elections than rules, systems and structures.

What went wrong?

There are very few people around Raila Odinga who believe that Raila can become president. As ODM blogger, Seth Odongo, puts it, there are those who believe in Raila as a means and those who believe in him as an end. The numbers of the former must be high, because things always go south for Raila yet he should have learnt from experience by now. Consider the ODM nominations in April. It does not need an astute political mind to know that Mohammed Ali was a better bet in Nyali, yet when ODM nominations were done the ticket went to Said Abdalla. It is rumoured that Abdalla is related to Mombasa Governor and ODM Deputy party leader Hassan Joho.

That scoop on KDF was a rope sent to Raila at the right time, and the opposition leader was tackless enough to use it to hang himself. This is a blunder a victim of state security machinery and a former Prime Minister should not fall for. This is a blunder I blame the people around Raila for and for such I cannot rule out high level infiltration of Nasa by Jubilee Party and state agents”

In Kisumu Town East, the incumbent Shakeel Shabir retained his seat as an Independent but about 20,000 voters did not turn out to vote. Such a scenario did not play out in Central Kenya, which is Uhuru Kenyatta’s stronghold. ODM denied Shabir, the darling of Kisumu Town East women voters, the ticket for reasons known to a select few. Shakil attributes the loss of 20,000 votes for Raila to husbands who prevented their wives from voting so that Shakeel could lose. When opening the Institute of Chartered and Public Accountants of Kenya (ICPAK) annual general meeting in Kwale recently, Hassan Omar said one could only fly a party’s flag in the general elections if one’s party leader allows one.

Looking at parliamentary results in Kakamega, where Jubilee bagged four seats, one can see the confusion in Nasa. First, ODM had an upper hand until the tickets went to people who did not deserve them – juxtapose this with Uhuru Kenyatta intervening to give the Starehe ticket to Jaguar at the expense of experienced Maina Kamanda. Meanwhile, in ODM, Raila watched as his handlers messed up his presidential bid from the grassroots. By the time ODM candidates were going to the elections, their biggest opponents where ANC candidates who happened to be supporting Raila for president. The net effect is that NASA votes were split and Jubilee made inroads.

The Musalia factor

Another factor is Musalia Mudavadi. Did the Amani national Congress add any value to Nasa? The answer depends on who is being asked. In my view, Mudavadi added only marginal advantage to Raila, if any. Mudavadi’s entry into Nasa might have sent more voters in Bungoma to Jubilee. As much as Raila got more votes in the former Western Kenya than he did in 2013, Uhuru Kenyatta reaped a substantial amount as well. Mudavadi did not lock it up for Nasa.

Looking at ODM and Nasa critically, I can bet that Jubilee moles and state agents infiltrated the two outfits. Their first duty was to get…

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