Sunday 24 September 2017

Kenyan opposition leader demands guarantees ahead of new election

Kenyan opposition leader Raila Odinga, left, said the presidential election last month was rigged Photo: Reuters
Kenyan opposition leader Raila Odinga, left, said the presidential election last month was rigged Photo: Reuters

John Ndiso

Kenyan opposition leader Raila Odinga said his coalition would not participate in the re-run of a presidential election proposed for October 17 unless it was given "legal and constitutional" guarantees.

The opposition also said it was planning to file dozens of challenges to results from races lower down the ticket, including legislative and local seats.

Mr Odinga's conditions for participating in the repeat presidential election include the removal of six officials at the election board. He wants criminal investigations to be opened against them.

"You cannot do a mistake twice and expect to get different results," Mr Odinga said. "A number of the officials of the commission should be sent home, some of them should be investigated for the heinous crimes they committed."

Kenya's Supreme Court ordered on Friday that the August 8 vote be re-run within 60 days, saying President Uhuru Kenyatta's victory by 1.4 million votes was undermined by irregularities in the process.

Mr Kenyatta was not accused of any wrongdoing.

The ruling, the first time in Africa that a court had overturned the re-election of a sitting president, was hailed by Mr Odinga's supporters as "historic".

Analysts said it was likely to lead to some short-term volatility in East Africa's biggest economy, but could build confidence in institutions longer-term.

On Monday, the election board said it would hold new elections on October 17. But Mr Odinga said he wanted them on October 24 or 31.

"There will be no elections on October 17 until the conditions that we have spelt out in the statement are met," he said. Mr Odinga has contested and lost the last three presidential elections in Kenya. Each time, he has said the vote was rigged.

The opposition also plans to lodge 62 court cases contesting governorship, lawmakers and local seats, a spokeswoman said.

At least 33 court cases were filed contesting results before the election was annulled, said Andrew Limo, an election board spokesman. Others had been filed since, but he said the numbers had not yet reached the same level as the 2013 elections, when the board received challenges to 189 results.

Irish Independent

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