The Coalition for Reforms and Democracy (CORD) led by Raila Odinga is at crossroads following successive massive setbacks after the Senate voted for the use of the controversial backup system in the forthcoming General Election.
The Opposition had earlier vowed to marshal its supporters for street protests after Parliament passed amendments to the all-important election laws, allowing the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) to use a manual voting backup.
Cord leaders strongly believe that the manual backup for voter identification and transmission of results is part of a bigger scheme by the Jubilee government to rig the hotly-contested looming elections.
“This is now a crisis … We will respond to this betrayal of the people comprehensively, decisively and firmly,” Opposition leaders said in a statement on Friday, January 6, a day after the Senate’s decision. Jubilee marshaled its numbers to force through the amendments that watered down earlier dialogued laws.
It is reported that this coming Wednesday (January 11) the Opposition will hold a major meeting at the Bomas of Kenya to forge a way forward. The convention will bring together all its Governors and other elected leaders and aspirants.
The Opposition now faces its biggest credibility test yet, and the proposal of forming the the National Super Alliance, NASA, to give Jubilee a run for its money, is expected to be given serious thinking so as to counter the latter’s growing influence.
It however remains to be seen whether Cord will back down from its promise not to hold mass action, a pledge that was made on December 22 after the National Assembly forced through how voter identification and results transmission would be done.
Ford Kenya leader Moses Wetang’ula said yesterday that the Opposition will mount a challenge to invalidate the Senate “vote that was rigged by the speaker and his co-conspirators”.
According Wetangula who is also Cord co-principal, the coalition and its affiliated parties would use “legal and extra-legal steps to restore sanity in the country.” He did not go into specifics.
“The only option for Cord is to prosecute this case on the streets,” University of Nairobi lecturer Herman Manyora told a local daily. He also expects Cord to take their grievances to the streets.
He also said in the interview by the Star that the electoral laws standoff and looming demonstrations could be a way of pushing back the election scheduled for August 8.