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Kenya:Controversy Over Orange Symbol


Kenya’s main opposition party, the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM-Kenya) is accusing President Mwai Kibaki’s government of conspiring to destabilize the party ahead of this year’s elections. The party’s vice chairman Mutula Kilonzo claims that a former minister whom he declined to name is behind the conspiracy. The government has dismissed the accusation as false and warned the opposition to desist from blaming the government for its misfortunes. Meanwhile, ODM-Kenya says it will today (Tuesday) register the name Orange as its symbol with the independent electoral commission. But another party had already registered the orange as its symbol.

From the capital Nairobi, Mutula Kilonzo told VOA via telephone that there is enough evidence the government intends to destabilize ODM-Kenya.

“When we launched ODM, they refused to register our political party, we had to literally invade the attorney general’s office to get our registration certificate. You also remember that after we won the referendum, they (government) caused some political opponents to go and register a political party bearing our name, and they also registered an electoral symbol using the orange when they had not been members of the ODM during the referendum or after,” he said.

Kilonzo said the electoral commission is not independent.

“The latest development over the week is that the electoral commission, in complete contravention of their requirement to be independent, refused to register our (ODM) election symbol and yet the symbol is registered as a trade mark under the law of the country and the law of trade mark,” Kilonzo noted.

He dismissed speculations the ODM’s accusations are misplaced.

“That is not correct, after we won the referendum the president refused to dissolve parliament and won’t call for fresh elections… you have seen recently the fiasco that was the Arturo Brothers, when Honorable Raila and Honorable Kalonzo said that these people were in Kenya as mercenaries and so on. And then I was forced as their lawyer to take them to the police station to write statements. The investigation report has been with the president now for nearly a year and that report has not been disclosed to the public,” he pointed out.

Kilonzo said members of ODM-Kenya are intimidated by what he said are government’s actions.

“Last week, the girl claimed to be the president’s daughter says that she is going to marry one of the Arturo Brothers. For heavens sake you should not allow people to think that we are merely being intimidated, we are intimidated. The fact is that the current government knows that if ODM sticks together, they are out in the cold,” he said.

Kilonzo said there would be repercussions if the electoral commission refuses to register orange as the party’s symbol.

“We are not going to allow the electoral commission to play games with us. If they don’t do so, then they must face the consequences. We are a mass movement, we are a political party well organized, and we will take political measures to protect our symbol,” he said.

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