- East Africa
Five months after President William Ruto was sworn-in as Kenya's fifth president, the Azimio la Umoja coalition has embarked on a fact-checking mission to scrutinise the government's manifesto.
On Wednesday, February 22, Azimio party leader Raila Odinga issued demands to President Ruto, failure to which the opposition would lead the country to mass action in 14 days.
Among the demands were granting access to the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) servers, the restoration of subsidies to cushion Kenyans from the high cost of living, the lowering of taxes and the formation of a bipartisan task force to oversee the IEBC restructuring.File photo of former Prime Minister Raila Odinga speaking at a public rally. TWITTER RAILA ODINGA
In particular, the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) scoffed at Ruto's remarks that the servers were accessible during the entire process of the election from the registration exercise of voters to the Supreme Court's verdict.
The party attached a letter from Smartmatic International Holdings dated August 31, 2022, which pointed out that opening the servers would compromise their intellectual property rights.
Instead, the company advocated for IEBC to avail all collected data related to the Results Transmission System as well as all Results Transmission System logs.
"This information should be sufficient to extensively audit the Results Transmission System and to verify that it worked properly. Also, all physical tally reports were available online in real-time since election night.
"All political parties and certified NGO election observers had access to those tallies and were able to audit the results independently. Even citizens all over the world had full access to these tally reports and were able to add the results," the statement read in part.
On Thursday, February 23, Ruto dismissed calls by Raila for the IEBC to open servers.
“It is necessary for our friends to know that the servers were opened when we all went to the polling stations. Demanding servers be opened now is taking us for granted. Is to believe that there are fools in Kenya. I want to tell our friends that the servers have always been open,” Ruto noted.
In addition, the opposition has been alleging that the incumbent is out of touch with the reality on the ground in terms of the high cost of living.
In response, Ruto asked Kenyans to be patient as he seeks to address the high cost of living.
He noted that efforts such as subsidising fertiliser, placing more arable land under food production, removing cartels in the agriculture trade and allowing imports from foreign markets would help remedy the situation.
"Our plan is to see Kenya making progress. I want to tell our rivals, you had five years and did handshakes. Maize flour prices hit Ksh230. Right now we have lowered it to Ksh180. They should give us time and see it coming to Ksh140 and Ksh120," Ruto stated during the commissioning of the Nairobi River on February 23, 2023.A photo collage of President William Ruto speaking in Nairobi on February 23, 2023 (left) and Former Prime Minister Raila Odinga addressing the media on February 17, 2023 (right). TWITTER WILLIAM RUTO/ RAILA ODINGA By Brian Kimani -Kenyans.co.ke