Kenya: Odinga’s Withdrawal from Presidential Rerun Sets Uncertainty

Kenyan Opposition Leader Raila Odinga. Photo: Odinnga's Official Facebook Page
Kenyan Opposition Leader Raila Odinga. Photo: Odinnga's Official Facebook Page

The Kenyan opposition leader Raila Odinga has withdrawn his party NASA from a re-run presidential election supposed to be held on October 26, 2017.

Odinga has been demanding certain election commission reforms since the court annulled the first presidential election held in August.

Mr. Odinga has withdrawn from the 26 October election alleging that the electoral officials have failed to reforms his party deems necessary.

The August election, won by the incumbent President Kenyatta, was annulled by the supreme court of the country due to counting process irregularities.

Odinga pledged that his party would not participate in the elections if necessary reforms are not made. His declaration now set uncertainty in the already divided Kenyan political landscape.

Mr. Odinga told in Nairobi, “After deliberating on our position in respect of the upcoming election … we believe that all will be best served by vacating its presidential candidature in the election scheduled for 26 October 2017.”

Finally declaring the withdrawal from the election Mr. Odinga said, “We have come to the conclusion that there is no intention on the part of the IEBC to undertake any changes to its operations and personnel … All indications are that the election scheduled for 26 October will be worse than the previous one.”

The decision made by the NASA set uncertainty in the coming days. The election-triggered violence in Kenya has a bad track record. Given that all the parties fail to settle the issues and create a competitively peaceful environment for the election rerun of the presidential candidates, Kenya might lose its track to progress and stability.

Kenyatta, the incumbent president has condemned the NASA decision not to participate in the election. He said, “We don’t have time for empty rhetoric and divisive politics. Our agenda is to fulfill our promises to the Kenyan people. What is the justice in the act of withdrawing from an election after causing Kenyans to use Kenya shillings 12 billion? Democracy is for all and no single individual can stand in the way of the democratic right of the people.”

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