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Kenyan Opposition Wants Later Date for New Presidential Vote

  • Jill Craig

FILE - Kenyan opposition leader Raila Odinga, of the National Super Alliance (NASA) coalition, arrives at the St. Stephen's cathedral for a church service in Nairobi, Kenya, Sept. 3, 2017.

After Kenya’s Supreme Court annulled last month’s presidential election results, the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) announced late Monday the new election will be held October 17.

But opposition leader Raila Odinga and his coalition said Tuesday they prefer October 24 or 31, arguing there must be sufficient time to work out issues with the IEBC that necessitated the need for a new election in the first place.

“We are saying that we are not ready to participate in elections on the 17th of October without legal and constitutional guarantees because you cannot do a mistake twice and expect to get different results,” said Odinga.

Odinga said "a number" of electoral commissioners should be removed and/or prosecuted instead of being permitted to conduct another round of elections.

“As far as we are concerned, it is not the date, the day,” said Odinga. “It is the preparations for these elections which is more important for us, that there must be proper preparations. It must deal with all irregularities which were committed. Beginning with the people who committed them, and also rectifying those irregularities.”

Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta flanked by his deputy, William Ruto, addresses the nation at State House in Nairobi, Kenya, Sept. 1, 2017.
Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta flanked by his deputy, William Ruto, addresses the nation at State House in Nairobi, Kenya, Sept. 1, 2017.

The IEBC spokesman told VOA a response would be forthcoming. Attempts to reach President Uhuru Kenyatta’s spokesman for comment were unsuccessful.

Kenyatta was declared the winner of the now-nullified August 8 election, defeating Odinga by 1.4 million votes.

The Supreme Court said in its ruling Friday the electoral commission was responsible for “irregularities and illegalities” in the transmission of results during the first election, though it did not order specific action for electoral officials.

Chief Justice David Maraga informed the commission that under the constitution it had 60 days from the ruling to organize fresh polls.

The full judgment of the court must be released within 21 days of the ruling.

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