When Juja MP William Kabogo complained that his constituents were being 'exported' to register as voters in Nairobi not many people paid attention to what the man was saying. Apparently some PNU cabinet ministers in Nairobi have been mandated to stem the ODM wave in the city and to ensure that they make political life as difficult as possible for Raila Odinga who is the current Langata MP and the biggest threat to President Kibaki's re-election plans. None of the other aspirants have addressed any successful campaign rally in the constituency because violence has always broken out whenever they attempt to campaign there.
Press advertisements in today's press say that all PNU parliamentary and civic aspirants in the city will be having a meeting at the Kasarani Gymnasium on 19/Oct/2007 at 09h00. The agenda of the meeting is unspecified.
The fact of the matter is that tens of thousands of voters who are not residents of Langata constituency were made to take advantage of recent voter registration exercise and transferred their voting stations from other areas to Langata constituency.
PNU agents have been accused of spending time and money inside the constituency buying voters cards from poor constituents who sometimes have to make a choice between going hungry or selling a constitutional right. Both the police and ECK have not made any arrest despite glaring evidence of voter buying countrywide.
To make matters worse, the ECK's own SMS verification number is not returning confirmatory results to voters registered in Langata and its website is returning results of up to May 2007 and earlier.
Part of the strategy is to keep the present MP Raila Odinga deeply engrossed fighting constituency wars. If the strategy works well, Raila could well be staring at an embarrassing parliamentary race defeat in the forthcoming general elections against one Mr. Stanley Livondo and/or Mr. Ndura Waruinge.
Other allegations have emerged that the Electoral Commission of Kenya has allowed the voter register to be tampered with and many names have been intentionally double/triple registered so as to 'lawfully' disqualify supporters of Raila Odinga and enhance the chances for his opponents. A casual glance at ECK's official double register confirms that hundreds of thousands of voters will not be allowed to vote, not just in Langata, but in many regions perceived to be ODM strongholds. In Langata constituency, some voters have 'registered' more than six times in the same voting station. Who is responsible for ensuring double registration does not occur?
ECK's ability towards maintaining an acceptable voter's register has now been put into serious doubt being that majority of the commissioners have been appointed by the president who is in all sense and manner an interest party in the electoral contest. This practice, though not illegal, is in great contrast to the previous ECK commisssioner appointments which were done to also allow opposition parties nominate their choices to the ECK alongside those of the ruling party.
President Kibaki is reportedly due to visit Kibera this week to present title deeds to the Nubian Community who are Muslims and number about 10,000 voters in Langata. Land is a very emotive and controversial issue in Kibera as with the rest of the country. Additionally, there are non Nubian communities who have lived in Kibera for generations. The land in Kibera has not been demarcated and one wonders how the government will determine genuine beneficiaries. The basis of the presidential visit, it seems, will be to officially present Stanley Livondo as PNU pointman in Langata, and allow him to address first his campaign rally in Kibera, under the watchful eyes of presidential security. Let us hope no insults will be thrown to opposition or residents as this may result in skirmishes or even death. Questions are still being asked; Who is this man Livondo? I hope Chris will use his good investigative and research skills to unearth the truth about Livondo one day.
It will take much more than massive rigging to vote out Raila Odinga in Langata and it is hoped that for the avoidance of bloodshed and instability, the ECK will move fast and re-open the voters registration so as to adjust anomalies to the satisfaction of all concerned parties.
On its part, the ODM is said to be seriously discussing the voter's register issue and a specialist team is said to be critically looking at Langata constituency with regard to ODM's presidential ambitions. Very soon, we shall be able to report progress here.