Published: Wed, October 11, 2017
World | By Melba Underwood

Kenya: Kenyatta rival Odinga pulls out of presidential election re-run

Kenya: Kenyatta rival Odinga pulls out of presidential election re-run

Odinga has vowed not to participate in the October 26 presidential election rerun if opposition demands for an election commission overhaul are not met.

Addressing a news conference in Nairobi, Odinga said his running mate Kalonzo Musyoka will also not take part in the repeat election, citing illegalities and failure by the Independent Electoral and Boundary Commission (IEBC) to initiate changes to its operations and personnel, who they said bungled the August 8 general elections.

Angry protests occurred a few days after in opposition strongholds across the country but peace returned when Raila Odinga said he was taking the results to court instead.

But in a 32-point statement in solidarity with Mr. Odinga's decision, National Super Alliance (NASA) insisted that the upcoming election should be held to the standard ordered by the Supreme Court, that is,"in strict conformity with the Constitution and written law". "A number of the officials of the commission should be sent home, some of them should be investigated for the heinous crimes they committed".

President Uhuru Kenyatta, who won the August election, will face opposition leader Raila Odinga.

Three people were seriously wounded during opposition demonstrations for changes to Kenya's electoral commission before fresh presidential elections later this month, a witness said Monday.

In the run-up to the reelection, there were attempts by Kenyatta's Jubilee Party, which has a majority in parliament, to reform electoral laws and the IEBC, but the opposition dismissed the efforts as insincere.

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On Monday (Oct. 9), president Kenyatta had welcomed Odinga's reported plan to withdraw from the election, saying "If you do not want elections, step aside so that the country can move forward".

"We wish to reiterate what we have stated in the past that we will not allow autocracy back into Kenya", Odinga said.

He also placed blame upon Kenyatta's administration for proposing amendments to electoral law that he said "go against global best practice that in the middle of an elections contest one can not change the rules and put in place rules that seek to favor him".

On August 8 Kenyans voted in the 6th election since the return to multiparty politics in 1992-the political reform we call the Second Liberation.

His withdrawal comes weeks after his opponent Uhuru Kenyatta threatened to "fix" the judiciary who nullified the latter's election win.

The election has plunged Kenya into its worst political crisis since a disputed poll in 2007, which led to violence that left more than 1,100 people died.

His announcement left Kenyans consumed by confusion.

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