President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Deputy William Ruto say the October 26 presidential repeat election will go on whether Nasa leader Raila Odinga participates or not.
Addressing a rally at Voi Stadium, Taita-Taveta County, the Jubilee leaders, who were there to seek support ahead of the vote, said it is not written in the Constitution that Mr Odinga must contest the election.
“He should stop taking Kenyans in circles,” President Kenyatta said in reaction to news of Mr Odinga’s withdrawal from the race.
“If the journey has become too tough for him, he can relax.”
He added: “I expect elections on October 26 for Kenyans to decide who their leader should be.”
“No one individual should stand in the path of progress of 45 million Kenyans,” President Kenyatta said at the end of his three-day tour of Coast.
The President reiterated that he won the August 8 polls but only accepted a repeat poll as per the Supreme Court verdict to avoid chaos.
He said it is Mr Odinga who challenged his election in court “and has now announced his withdrawal from the race”, adding that the Sh12 billion set aside for the poll should have been channelled to development.
The Head of State said the Supreme Court cleared him and the electoral agency of any wrongdoing in the August elections and that irregularities were only found in forms.
“We are ready for the election if he (Mr Odinga) will be there or not,” President Kenyatta said.
Mr Ruto said Mr Odinga should stop taking Kenyans round in circles.
“We are told Raila has withdrawn from the election. We want to tell him we are ready whether he will be there or not. It is his constitutional right to vie or not,” Mr Ruto said.
President Kenyatta and Mr Ruto opposed Mr Odinga’s push for fresh elections to be held after 90 days, saying Kenyans were tired and wanted to continue with their lives.
They urged Taita-Taveta residents to give them more votes in the repeat poll than they did in August, citing Jubilee’s development record.
The two also praised Taita- Taveta Governor Granton Samboja’s announcement that he will work with Jubilee government for growth.
Mr Samboja was elected on a Wiper ticket, which is a Nasa affiliate.
Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko said President Kenyatta should be sworn in for a second term following Mr Odinga’s withdrawal.
Meanwhile, Jubilee MPs on Tuesday called on IEBC to declare Uhuru Kenyatta the President following Mr Odinga’s withdrawal.
They said the only option is to declare Uhuru the President because he has no competitor.
National Assembly Majority Leader Aden Duale said despite Odinga’s withdrawal, the repeat poll will still be held and Uhuru Kenyatta will be declared the winner.
“There will be elections as earlier planned on October 26 and President Kenyatta will win,” Mr Duale said.
“Now that we only have Uhuru Kenyatta as the presidential candidate, IEBC should give us the nod to proceed to Kasarani to swear in Uhuru ,” nominated MP Cecily Mbarire said.
Igembe North MP Maoka Maore said Mr Odinga has been misled by his lawyers thinking that he will benefit from his withdrawal or cause any crisis.
Kieni MP Kanini Kega accused Mr Odinga of trying to cause a constitutional crisis by withdrawing his candidature just days to the repeat poll.
Laikipia Woman Rep Catherine Waruguru thanked Mr Odinga for “conceding defeat”.
Diplomatic leaks: UAE dissatisfied with Saudi policies
AL JAZEERA — Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed (MbZ) is working on breaking up Saudi Arabia, leaked documents obtained by Lebanese newspaper Al Akhbar revealed.
Al Akhbar said that the leaked documents contained secret diplomatic briefings sent by UAE and Jordanian ambassadors in Beirut to their respective governments.
One of the documents, issued on September 20, 2017, disclosed the outcome of a meeting between Jordan’s ambassador to Lebanon Nabil Masarwa and his Kuwaiti counterpart Abdel-Al al-Qenaie.
“The Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed is working on breaking up the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” the Jordanian envoy quoted the Kuwait ambassador as saying.
A second document, issued on September 28, 2017, reveals meeting minutes between the Jordanian ambassador and his UAE counterpart Hamad bin Saeed al-Shamsi.
The document said the Jordanian ambassador informed his government that UAE believes that “Saudi policies are failing both domestically and abroad, especially in Lebanon”.
“The UAE is dissatisfied with Saudi policies,” the Jordanian envoy said.
The Qatar vote
According to the leaks, UAE ambassador claims that Lebanon voted for Qatar’s Hamad bin Abdulaziz al-Kawari in his bid to become head of UNESCO in October 2017.
“[Lebanese Prime Minister Saad] Hariri knew Lebanon was voting for Qatar,” the UAE ambassador said in a cable sent to his government on October 18, 2017.
In November last year, Hariri announced his shock resignation from the Saudi capital Riyadh.
He later deferred his decision, blaming Iran and its Lebanese ally in Lebanon, Hezbollah, for his initial resignation. He also said he feared an assassination attempt.
Officials in Lebanon alleged that Hariri was held hostage by Saudi authorities, an allegation Hariri denied in his first public statement following his resignation speech.
Somalia’s Puntland region asks UAE to stay as Gulf split deepens
BOSASO, Somalia (Reuters) – Somalia’s semi-autonomous Puntland region urged the United Arab Emirates not to close its security operations in the country after a dispute with the central government, saying the Gulf power was a key ally in the fight against Islamist militants.
The dispute goes to the heart of an increasingly troubled relationship between Gulf states – divided by their own disputes – and fractured Somalia, whose coastline sits close to key shipping routes and across the water from Yemen.
Analysts have said the complex standoff risks exacerbating an already explosive security situation on both sides of the Gulf of Aden, where militant groups launch regular attacks.
The central Somali government said on Wednesday it was taking over a military training program run by the UAE.
Days later the UAE announced it was pulling out, accusing Mogadishu of seizing millions of dollars from a plane, money it said was meant to pay soldiers.
“We ask our UAE friends, not only to stay, but to redouble their efforts in helping Somalia stand on its feet,” said the office of the president of Puntland, a territory that sits on the tip of the Horn of Africa looking out over the Gulf of Aden.
Ending UAE support, “will only help our enemy, particularly Al Shabaab and ISIS (Islamic State),” it added late on Monday.
Watch this presser. pic.twitter.com/wEH19WsG7t
— Abdisalam Aato (@AbdisalamAato) April 16, 2018
The UAE is one of a number of Gulf powers that have opened bases along the coast of the Horn of Africa and promised investment and donations as they compete for influence in the insecure but strategically important region.
That competition has been exacerbated by a diplomatic rift between Qatar and a bloc including the UAE. In turn, those splits have worsened divisions in Somalia.
Puntland, which has said it wants independence, has sought to woo the UAE which runs an anti-piracy training center there and is developing the main port. The central government in Mogadishu last year criticized Puntland for taking sides in the Gulf dispute. Qatar’s ally Turkey is one of Somalia’s biggest investors.
One Somali government official said last week Mogadishu had decided to take over the UAE operation because the Gulf state’s contract to run it had expired. Another official said the government was investigating the money taken from the plane.
The competition among Gulf states in Somalia has fueled accusations of foreign interference and resentment in many corners of Somali society.
The loss of the UAE program could have a destabilizing effect, said one security analyst, speaking on condition of anonymity.
“The value of the UAE trained forces was two-fold – they were relatively well trained but, most importantly, they were paid on time,” unlike other parts of the security forces, the analyst told Reuters.
Somalia has been mired in conflict since 1991.