Kenya: Opposition spurns new date for presidential poll

Other contenders for the presidency go to court to block electoral commission’s move to hold 2-man race on Oct. 17

 

NAIROBI(AA)-The leader of Kenya’s opposition on Tuesday rejected the new date for presidential elections set by Kenya’s electoral body, saying that the opposition had not been consulted and key issues went unaddressed, adding a threat to boycott the race.

Raila Odinga vowed to boycott the presidential elections re-run set for Oct. 17 if a list of their demands — including sacking or suspending key officials of Kenya’s electoral body — are not met.

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission set a new date for presidential polls on Monday following last week’s landmark Supreme Court ruling striking down the Aug. 8 election results, citing irregularities, and ordered the holding of new polls within 60 days.

Odinga also said that the commission’s decision to lock out other presidential candidates, leaving only him and President Uhuru Kenyatta and their running mates in the race, was unfair and illegal.

“Your interpretation that the election scheduled on Oct. 17, 2017 shall be in the style of a runoff contest of only two candidates is erroneous and unconstitutional,” Odinga told a news conference at Wilson Airport in the capital Nairobi.

“We demand that you immediately seek consultation with the political parties and relevant stakeholders before a formal notification of the presidential election,” he added, reading out a long list of demands, including reforming Kenya’s electoral body.

Kenyatta, the incumbent, later slammed Raila’s opposition to the new election date, saying, “There is no legal requirement that Raila be consulted. Neither was I consulted, Kenya doesn’t belong to one man”.

Other contenders for the presidential seat on Tuesday went to court to block the commission’s move to block them from the election re-run.

Kenya’s Aug. 8 elections were marred by poll violence that lead to the deaths of at least 20 people, including a six-month-old infant.

The violence started on Aug. 9 when opposition leader Raila Odinga disputed early election results, saying that they had unearthed evidence of mass poll rigging in favor of President Kenyatta’s ruling Jubilee Party.