- Dr Aukot lays claim to the title of official opposition leader after coming third in the repeat presidential election behind Mr Odinga whose name remained on the ballot despite the boycott.
- No doubt Dr Aukot is the man of the moment, and has thrust himself powerfully onto the centre stage of national politics.
- Supporters of the Uhuru-Raila handshake are confused and worried that the Aukot initiative will complicate things ahead of the secretive Building Bridges proposals yet to be unveiled.
Thirdway Alliance leader Ekuro Aukot pulled off a stunning coup in getting his Punguza Mizigo Constitutional amendment Bill past the first hurdle on the way to a referendum.
Getting more than one million signatures was no mean feat. This can be viewed from the perspective that at the August 2017 presidential elections, Dr Aukot managed a paltry 27,400 votes, just 0.18 per cent 15,593,050 votes cast.
At the repeat poll in October after President Uhuru Kenyatta’s victory was invalidated by the Supreme Court, the Thirdway candidate got 21,333 votes. He improved his share of the total to 0.28 per cent, but in a depressed turnout of only 7,616,217 votes cast after the fresh poll was boycotted by the main opposition challenger Raila Odinga.
It may be instructive that when Mr Odinga’s then opposition coalition, Cord, pushed its own Okoa Kenya Constitutional amendment Bill in 2016, the effort came a cropper as the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission ruled that it did not reach the 1 million signatures required.
Dr Aukot lays claim to the title of official opposition leader after coming third in the repeat presidential election behind Mr Odinga whose name remained on the ballot despite the boycott. There was also the latter’s stunning turnaround in making his peace with President Kenyatta after initially refusing to recognise the outcome, launching a civil disobedience campaign and having himself controversially sworn-in as ‘People’s President’.
The fact, however, is that Dr Aukot runs a puny political outfit and hardly features on the radar of opposition leadership.
The total votes he got countrywide at the presidential elections could not win a parliamentary seat anywhere, and indeed his Thirdway Alliance does not boast a single representative in the National Assembly or Senate.
This is what makes such a stupendous feat garnering 1,222, 541 signatures without the support of a major ethnic-political alliance or religious and civil society movements.
He has upstaged the ‘main’ constitutional referendum push sponsored by President Kenyatta and Mr Odinga, opposition chief-turned ally, under the Building Bridges initiative.
He has stolen some of the thunder from Deputy President William Ruto’s ‘opposition’ troops within Jubilee primed to wage war against the Uhuru-Raila union.
No doubt Dr Aukot is the man of the moment, and has thrust himself powerfully onto the centre stage of national politics.