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Cord calls off protests to give talks a chance

Cord has called off demonstrations against the electoral commission that it had planned to hold on Thursday to give room for talks on  electoral reforms.

The opposition coalition said that deliberations between the parties concerned were progressing impressively.

However, Tongaren MP Eseli Simiyu and Siaya Senator James Orengo said if no agreement was reached by Friday, the protests would resume on Monday next week.

The two also announced that Cord would consider street protests if opposition MPs were not released as soon as possible.

“Much progress has been made and a lot of ground covered on the sticking issues. We see political will and rays of good faith being exhibited by all parties and a conducive and enabling environment created, although we are yet to conclude discussions on a few but equally important issues,” Dr Eseli said in a statement.


He declined to reveal the issues being discussed or the outstanding ones, only pointing out that they were ‘weighty’.

Dr Eseli reiterated that the decision to call off the protests was meant to create a conducive environment for the conclusion of talks on the remaining “two to three issues”.

“We reiterate once more that as Cord, we hold no cards under the table. Our objective is limited to resolving the IEBC (Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission) crisis and ensuring free and fair elections in 2017,” he said.

The two Cord officials claimed that the holding of coalition MPs in police cells amounted to “detention without trial”.

Mr Orengo said Cord expected an expeditious response on issues it had raised, before the proposed dialogue on electoral reforms could proceed.


He said intimidation of opposition supporters through arbitrary arrests of their leaders could spoil the atmosphere for the talks.

“What we have seen is a return of the Kanu era’s detention without trial,” Mr Orengo said.

Cord and Jubilee MPs are being held in police cells and have been charged with incitement.

Mr Orengo said Machakos Senator Johnson Muthama, MPs Junet Mohammed (Suna East), Aisha Jumwa (Kilifi), Florence Mutua (Busia) and Timothy Bosire (Kitutu Chache) were facing what he described as “frivolous charges”.

Jubilee MPs Moses Kuria (Gatundu South), Ferdinand Waititu (Kabete) and Kimani Ngunjiri of Bahati, Nakuru are facing similar charges.

“It will be difficult to dialogue if Senator Muthama is still in detention since he is a member of our team,” said Mr Orengo.

He said Cord would consider resuming street protests if the “persecution” of opposition politicians was not stopped.