Kenyan opposition leader Odinga withdraws from new presidential election

11 October, 2017, 00:35 | Author: Kim Reid
  • Anti IEBC demos along Nkrumah Road in Mombasa

Raila Odinga, Kenya's opposition leader, has withdrawn from a re-run of the presidential election, saying electoral officials have failed to make necessary reforms.

Odinga and his National Super Alliance (NASA) had pledged not to take part in the vote re-run unless reforms were made to the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC).

With just over two weeks to go until the new election, and rival sides hardening rhetoric, uncertainty is growing over whether they will be able to agree on the conduct of the poll in time.

This handout photograph released by The Presidential Service Communication Unit (PSCU) shows Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta (L) watched by Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiangi as he addresses media representatives outside his office in Nairobi on August 14, 2017.

He assured his supporters that the march to power was still on, but cautioned that it will not be easy as there will be a lot of drama, including defection of Nasa candidates who lost in the August elections.

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"Kenyans must be allowed to move on".

In early September, the supreme court had annulled the results of the presidential election which were held on August 8 and ordered for a fresh vote in 60 days.

"We have no problem going back to elections".

"All indications are that the election scheduled for October 26 will be worse than the previous one", Odinga told reporters Tuesday in the capital, Nairobi.

Mr Kenyatta has said he does not want changes to the election commission.

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"If I choose not to participate in a pre-rigged electoral process, no court can order me to do so", Odinga declared.

Kenyans are due to head to the polls again on October 26 to elect their president.

Over the weekend, NASA leaders maintained that they will not participate in the coming elections if their demands are not met.

A majority found so many irregularities, they said the elections did not meet the threshold set out by the constitution.

In reaction to the expected vote next week, the United States, a major donor to the Kenyan government and its security forces, said in a sharply worded statement on Friday: "Changing electoral laws without broad agreement just prior to a poll is not consistent with worldwide best practice (and) increases political tension".

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