National Super Alliance (NASA) presidential candidate Raila Odinga said there was a plan to rig the August elections. The opposition leader tabled details of alleged rigging plans involving security forces to aid Jubilee hold on power in an operation named Dumisha Utulivu (Keep the Peace). The statement by NASA and the accompanying documents immediately went viral among Kenyans on social media.
The document presented to the public by NASA indicated that a number of officers and soldiers will be participating in the plot. It mentioned the selection of 'regime-friendly' soldiers and the use of signal-jamming equipment in selected areas mainly in Central Kenya, which is perceived to predominantly support the Jubilee regime.
According to Raila, the soldiers are being trained on how to cut off power and water in Kibera and Mathare slums and keep people out of city centre.
“Also included will be 226 new soldiers, being trained to be deployed in this mission. The soldiers don’t have networks in the military. Because they are new, they will readily take any orders, and at the same time cannot be identified, nor can they communicate with other soldiers who might not be privy to the plot and would oppose it,” Mr Odinga's running mate, Kalonzo Musyoka, claimed.
President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Deputy President, William Ruto, dismissed the rigging claims saying Raila has sensed defeat and is now discrediting the polls at every opportunity.
In a move that surprised many, on Friday, Kenya Defence Force (KDF) spokesman, Colonel Joseph Owuoth, reportedly confirmed the authenticity of documents presented by NASA on the “Dumisha utulivu” operation. However, he said they were quoted out of context and that military was apolitical and professional.
With just about 10 days to the elections, IEBC Chair, Wafula Chebukati, said the Commission had put “strict measures” in place to prevent rigging. The IEBC chair said IEBC had no plans of deploying KDF anywhere in the electoral process.
Defence Cabinet Secretary Raychelle Omamo disowned the documents presented by NASA, saying she had not seen them and that the KDF were not plotting anything outside the law.
Political analyst Mutahi Ngunyi expressed worry about KDF's admission of the authenticity of a letter presented by the Opposition on an alleged rigging plot.
"Military documents do not leak. And if they leak, military never confirms that they are authentic."
He added via Twitter on Saturday: "KDF Spokesman executing a scheme. Worrying."
NASA politician, Prof. Anyang Nyong’o, claimed that KDF Spokesperson Colonel Joseph Owuoth, who, the previous week, confirmed the authenticity of documents presented by NASA, had gone missing.
Prof. Nyong'o claimed at a press briefing in Kisumu that Col. Owuoth was ordered to go on compulsory leave right after issuing the statement confirming NASA’s allegations. He was also ordered not to talk to the press and to go to his home in Koru.
The Colonel was said to have been in constant communication with his sister until Monday morning. He boarded a public transport vehicle in Nairobi and went silent once he reached Nakuru (or was assumed to have reached Nakuru), and was not heard from again.
These claims caused considerable concern, since they were made just days after the IEBC ICT manager went missing and was later found dead.
Col Joseph Owuoth resurfaced at a press conference at Defence headquarters alongside Defence CS Raychelle Omamo, and dismissed claims by his family and politicians that he is missing. He also said that he was okay and still on duty and not suspended as claimed by NASA leaders.
NASA's Prof. Nyong’o had told journalists in Kisumu that the family of Owuoth has reported him missing, a day being sent on compulsory leave.
The Defence CS, at the same press conference, said that the ministry had "carried out investigations to establish the veracity, authenticity and source" of the documents presented by NASA, and that the ministry "can state categorically that these documents are fake in all aspects."