Kenya’s opposition leader Raila Odinga says he is pulling out of the October 26 rerun presidential polls, citing grievances with the electoral commission and President Uhuru Kenyatta’s ruling party. And the country waits to find out what happens next in the election saga that has been ongoing since before the original August 8 polls.
The electoral drama continues in Kenya, after opposition leader Raila Odinga announced Tuesday that he and his NASA coalition would not be participating in the country’s presidential polls later this month.
“We have come to the conclusion that there is no intention on the part of the IEBC to undertake any changes to its operations and personnel to ensure that the 'illegalities and irregularities' that led to the invalidation of the 8th August 2017 do not happen again. All indications are that the election scheduled for 26 October will be worse than the previous one,” he said.
Odinga accused the country’s electoral commission, known as the IEBC, of having “no intention to streamline the electoral system to accord with the constitution and electoral laws.”
He also placed blame upon Kenyatta’s administration for proposing amendments to electoral law that he said “go against international best practice that in the middle of an elections contest one cannot change the rules and put in place rules that seek to favor him.”
In response, while speaking to supporters during a campaign rally in Kenya’s Coast region Tuesday, Kenyatta said he hoped there would be an election on October 26.
“And the people of Kenya will have the right to choose and determine who their leader shall be,” he said.
Odinga’s team claims its withdrawal requires the IEBC to cancel the election and conduct fresh nominations, which should take place at least 90 days before a general election.
The IEBC released a statement that, “following the withdrawal of the NASA presidential candidate, the Commission and the legal team are meeting and will communicate the way forward.”
But that way forward is becoming more and more murky for Kenyans, as they can only guess what will happen next.