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Raila Questions President Kibaki's High poll Numbers

Kenya’s president Mwai Kibaki is reportedly ahead of his political opponents, according to a survey released Sunday by the Steadman polling group of Kenya before the country’s elections at the end of the year. The survey said that if elections were held in the next month, President Kibaki would win by 51 percent, followed by Raila Odinga of the orange democratic movement’s (ODM-Kenya) with 17 percent. But Odinga has dismissed the survey’s results.

From the capital Nairobi, he told VOA that the survey is a manipulation by the Kibaki government to deceive the public into believing that the current government is popular.

“My feelings is that this is manipulated by the government to try to show that the government has got a considerable lead in public opinion, preparatory to trying to rig the elections or trying to use it to sway public opinion in their favor. Because nobody knows who is funding these polls or who is involved, they are actually contradictory to the reality on the ground… we are very concerned about the whole thing,” he said.

Odinga said demands made by the ODM for minimum constitutional reforms before the December elections are not irrational.

“We have actually agreed that we are going to negotiate with the government by putting up what we called a reducible minimum that we would accept at the polls, they are not unreasonable demands. The issue of an independent electoral commission is not negotiable, It is the sine qua non for free and fair elections,” he noted.

Odinga reiterated the opposition’s demands.

“We are talking about the disenfranchisement of the millions of the youth who have reached the voting age, and the issue of affirmative action. So those were never contentious issues… we have not made any unreasonable demands for these talks,” he said.

Odinga said both the opposition and the government agreed that the winner of the elections should win by at least 50 plus one vote.

“There is one other demand that actually meets our standard that the winning presidential candidate garners fifty percent plus one. Again that one was never controversial; it was never contentious because it is in both constitutional drafts. It was actually a proposal by the Honorable Kibaki when he was himself in the opposition in the constitutional review commission. So we have come up with w very minimum and reasonable proposals,” he noted.