Kenya’s opposition leader faults date for presidential revote


Kenya’s opposition leader Raila Odinga on Tuesday faulted the electoral body, the Independent Electoral and Boundary Commission (IEBC), for setting Oct. 17 as the date for a re-run of presidential elections following nullification of the previous polls by the supreme court.

Odinga said his National Super Alliance (NASA) and other stakeholders were never consulted over the new date.

“There will be no election on Oct. 17 unless the specific demands herein are honored,” Odinga told journalists in Nairobi. “We demand nothing less than a fully transparent and accountable electoral process.”

“IEBC seems anxious to reach an outcome it desires,” he said.

“We condemn the fact that the IEBC did not consult the parties involved before making a determination on the date of the said election but seemed to be taking instructions from Fred Matiang’i,” he said, referring to the education cabinet secretary.

The 72-year-old opposition leader, who successfully petitioned the apex court to annul the re-election of incumbent president Uhuru Kenyatta, said the electoral commission had not complied with the court order of conducting “free, fair and verifiable elections.”

“Given the special circumstances of the fresh elections, we believe that the IEBC should take measures to ensure that the fresh presidential election meets the standards contemplated under Articles 81, 86 and 138 of the Constitution and other relevant provisions of the law,” Odinga said.

“It is our view that the date of the fresh election be a product of consultation with concerned parties and not a unilateral decision imposed on the people of Kenya.”

The IEBC held its first full meeting on Monday, three days after Kenyatta’s re-election was invalidated by the Supreme Court, and set the new poll date on Oct. 17.

Odinga’s NASA is also demanding personnel change at the IEBC Secretariat, saying some of the staff colluded to steal the elections in favor of Kenyatta.

He said the IEBC has not purged the contempt it committed in regard to the orders of the Supreme Court such as providing a system of technology that is transparent and verifiable.

“It is therefore inappropriate and foolhardy for the IEBC to embark on the planning of a fresh election without full compliance with the Supreme Court orders and in the redeployment of technology in the fresh presidential election,” Odinga said.

He said the electoral body should establish a transparent and accountable framework for integration of technology.

The IEBC must take immediate steps to engender transparency and accountability in the electoral planning and infrastructure, Odinga said.

“All partners engaged to provide electoral technology solutions must be known to the Kenyan people, their roles defined and accountability mechanisms set up,” he said.

However, the government has resisted the proposed changes and insisted that the IEBC will conduct the election as currently constituted.

The Supreme Court on Sept. 1 called for a new election within 60 days after finding irregularities in the re-election of Kenyatta in the Aug. 8 elections.

The court ruled that the presidential elections were not conducted in accordance with the constitution, rendering the result invalid, null and void.

Four out of the six judges at the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Odinga, who filed a petition to have the Aug. 8 election result overturned.