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Kenyan Election Official Resigns, Citing Doubts About Re-vote

  • VOA News

Kenyan electoral official Roselyn Akombe, center right, stands as President Uhuru Kenyatta, third from left, receives his electoral win certificate, later nullified, from Chairman of the Electoral Commission Wafula Chebukati, left, as Deputy President William Ruto, right, looks on at the results center in Nairobi, Kenya. Akombe resigned Wednesday, Oct. 18, 2017 in a statement from New York saying the rerun of the presidential election scheduled for Oct. 26 cannot be free and fair.

A member of Kenya's election commission has resigned just a week before the presidential re-vote, adding another layer of political turmoil in the East African nation.

Roselyn Akombe issued a statement from New York Wednesday saying the planned October 26 re-vote "cannot meet the basic expectations of a credible election." Akombe says the embattled electoral commission, known by its acronym IEBC, is "under siege" from infighting and political intimidation.

"The commission has become a party to the current crisis," says Akombe. She urged her former colleagues "to be courageous and speak out."

Akombe told BBC Radio she fled Kenya after receiving numerous threats to her safety.

President Uhuru Kenyatta won re-election in the initial August 8th vote, but the Supreme Court invalidated the results nearly a month later, due to “irregularities and illegalities” on the part of IEBC. Kenya's constitution calls for new elections to be held within 60 days of nullification.

But the re-vote itself has been thrown into chaos since last week, when opposition leader Raila Odinga withdrew his candidacy. Odinga says the electoral commission did not replace officials he blames for the irregularities in the earlier election, which he lost to Kenyatta.

Despite his refusal to participate in next week's re-vote, the IEBC says Odinga's name will not be removed from the list of eight candidates who took part in the August election.

Human rights group says dozens of Kenyans have been killed in protests since the initial elections.

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