Cord in push for high voter turnout in poll

Cord presidential candidate Raila Odinga speaks during during the launch of Cord online fundraiser at Pan Afric Hotel Nairobi on February 12, 2013. PHOTO / ANTHONY OMUYA
By CAROLINE WAFULA  ( email the author)

Posted  Tuesday, February 12  2013 at  17:27

The Cord Coalition has launched an initiative to encourage high voter turnout in the forthcoming general elections.

Prime Minister Raila Odinga unveiled the ‘Get out and Vote’ initiative at the Panafric hotel on Tuesday where he dismissed political analyst Mutahi Ngunyi’s tyranny of numbers analysis which predicted a Jubilee coalition victory in the coming election.

He said the analysis by Mr Ngunyi amounts to incitement along ethnic lines and should be considered as such by the National Cohesion and Integration Commission.

“If the Kibunja commission is really against hate speech and incitement, this really qualifies for incitement. What Ngunyi was trying to do was to incite and intimidate Kenyans and this should not go unchallenged,” he stated.

He said the political analyst was in essence mobilizing Kenyans along ethnic voting blocs.

“It doesn’t create confidence in our country but spews hatred among Kenyans,” he said.

Mr Ngunyi’s analysis of the voter numbers has elicited mixed reactions with some saying it would boost Mr Odinga’s votes by winning him more votes from the minority communities.

Mr Ngunyi, in an interview with Citizen TV, opined that Mr Odinga would commit political suicide if he continued trusting opinion polls and that the Jubilee coalition had an upper hand in the coming election.

Mr Odinga retorted on Tuesday saying; “Opinion polls are saying something else and he comes up with so many figures to try and confuse Kenyans. who do you believe? What the opinion polls are saying or what Mutahi Ngunyi is telling people,” he said.

Mr Odinga said Cord and its supporters are confident of a win come March 4.

“We are not intimidated by planting of hypothetical figures, we know we enjoy the confidence and the support of the majority of Kenyans who will speak through their votes on the poll day,” he stated.

He urged all registered voters, irrespective of their political affiliation to turn out on the election day and vote.

“It is important to turn out and vote. Every Kenyan ought to exercise this democratic right to determine the leaders who take charge of this country,” he stated.

“This is what is going to rubbish the game of numbers which has been plunked by ethnic chauvinists trying to intimidate Kenya…they say ooh we have got the numbers, ooh this community has registered so many voters than this community, that kind of arithmetic completely flies against what has been known scientifically as opinion polling,” he said.

He argued that no single political candidate can claim that a given community belongs to them because voters have a right of choice.

“That is why only registered voters are polled and one can’t claim that all belong to them even if they come from their own community,” he said.

Present at the event were Cord officials including the recently inaugurated management committee co-chaired by politicians Franklin Bett and Gideon Ndambuki who are spearheading the initiative.

The PM equated the soon to be held election to the 1963 independence election, saying it is important as will be transforming the country by operationalizing the new Constitution.

He said his Cord coalition was ready for the election.

“We want the whole country to be ready to whip and vote and shame those who want to take Kenya back to the dark days of dictatorship…bright days lie ahead of Kenyans,” he said.

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