Kenyan National Super Alliance (NASA) presidential candidate, Raila Amollo Odinga, has pulled out of the repeat elections scheduled for 26th October 2017. Mr. Odinga has pulled out of the elections citing grievances not met by the electoral body in Kenya, the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC). Following the nullification of the presidential poll that took place on the 8th of August this year by the Kenyan Supreme Court, a repeat poll was ordered for the two main candidates, Mr. Odinga and the incumbent, President Uhuru Kenyatta. The Supreme Court cited “irregularities and illegalities” committed by the IEBC as the basis for nullification of the presidential election and also said that the election was not conducted according to the Kenyan constitution.
Reasons for Pulling Out
Since then the electoral commission has been preparing for the repeat polls. The ruling Jubilee Party has since then maintained that the electoral commission should remain as it is even as the opposition has demanded the resignation of the CEO of the commission together with other commissioners it says were responsible for bungling the previous election. The opposition came up with a list of nine recommendations it terms its “irreducible minimums” for the electoral body to implement before the repeat polls. NASA believes that these recommendations will guarantee a free, fair, and credible repeat election. The IEBC has, however, not acted on any of these recommendations, prompting the opposition to call for nationwide demonstrations against the electoral body to force it to put its house in order. Further public demonstrations are expected moving forward. NASA also says the ruling party is acting in bad faith by initiating amendment of electoral elections through parliament before the repeat poll. The Jubilee Party, however, says that the new laws are necessary if the technology system fails. The laws also take away the role of announcing the winner of the presidential election from the chairman (as stated in the constitution) to any member of the commission.
Uncertain Times for Kenya
NASA’s pulling out of the election leaves the country in uncertain times. Kenyans are waiting for interpretation from experts to know the way forward as a country. The opposition maintains that there is no power vacuum as to who is at the helm of the country and has called on the electoral body to initiate fresh electoral nominations in accordance with the constitution.
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