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Kenyan opposition leader rejects new presidential election, demands ‘guarantees’ against fraud

Posted: September 6, 2017 at 5:29 pm   /   by   /   comments (0)

Kenyan opposition politician Raila Odinga vowed Tuesday that he would not participate in a new presidential election scheduled for next month without ‘‘legal and constitutional guarantees’’ against alleged electoral fraud.

Odinga, who has disputed the results of Kenya’s Aug. 8 presidential election, spoke a day after the country’s Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission set Oct. 17 as the new date for polls. Kenya’s Supreme Court decided Friday to annul the election results, saying that major ‘‘irregularities and illegalities’’ marred the balloting. The court ordered the commission to hold a new election within 60 days.

According to official returns issued by the electoral commission last month, President Uhuru Kenyatta easily won reelection, receiving 54 percent of the vote to Odinga’s 45 percent.

Addressing journalists in Nairobi, Odinga said Tuesday that he was not consulted on matters regarding the fresh polls.

‘‘The electoral commission did not see fit to consult the stakeholders before they announced the date of elections,’’ he said. He added that the commission reneged on a pledge to hold consultations with the opposition and ruling parties ‘‘so that we could agree not only on the date of election but how the elections are going to be conducted.’’

Odinga charged that
Kenyatta’s ruling Jubilee Party ‘‘decided on the date, and not the electoral commission, which puts to question the independence of the electoral commission.’’

He said that a French firm, Safran Identity and Security, which won a contract to supply election equipment, should be investigated and ‘‘should give a full account’’ of what happened.

‘‘We know exactly what transpired in these last elections,’’ he said. ‘‘We know what the IEBC did, and we know that if we were to go back there will be no different results, and that’s why we say there will be no elections’’ on Oct. 17.

Odinga also demanded the sacking of several electoral commission officials. ‘‘The commission as it is currently constituted should not conduct this election, because the commission itself has been indicted,’’ he said.

‘‘Some of them should be investigated and prosecuted for the kind of heinous crimes that they committed in this last election,’’ Odinga said. ‘‘These officials should not conduct elections, and therefore we are saying that we are not ready to participate in the elections on the 17th of October without legal and constitutional guarantees because we cannot do a mistake twice and expect to get different results.’’

On Friday, Kenyan Chief Justice David Maraga declared Kenyatta’s victory ‘‘invalid, null and void,’’ citing various irregularities, especially in the transmission of votes.

Kenyatta responded in a nationally televised address that he did not agree with the judgment but would respect it.

Shortly afterward, however, Kenyatta angrily attacked the decision, saying the Supreme Court judges ‘‘have been paid by white people and other trash.’’

Kenyatta’s attack on the judiciary caused an uproar, spurring demonstrations in Kisii area, the home region of the chief justice. The Aug. 8 election was considered the last shot at the presidency for Odinga, 72, who had run and lost three times before.



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