Raila Withdraws from Repeat Presidential Election

Sophia Abdi Noor

However, Kenya's president, who has been campaigning to defend his win declared in the August polls, Uhuru Kenyatta says Raila Odinga has exercised his democratic right to withdraw from repeat poll, saying the election will proceed as planned.

Kenya's Supreme Court invalidated the results of the contentious August 8 vote, which showed victory for Kenyatta and ordered a new election within 60 days. It became the first presidential election in Africa to be annulled by the Court, and only the fourth in the world. "A number of the officials of the commission should be sent home, some of them should be investigated for the heinous crimes they committed".

The Nairobi-based court said the electoral board committed "irregularities and illegalities" during the vote, harming the integrity of the election.

Mr Odinga has contested and lost the last three presidential elections in Kenya, sources confirm, each time, he has said the vote was rigged against him.

Speaking in Mombasa, Kenyatta said it was necessary to remove the lacuna in law cited by the Supreme Court, in order to ensure the same gaps did not force the court to deliver a similar verdict in future. "If he has chosen not to run, we are ready for the elections with or without the NASA candidate on the 26th of October this year, and the people of Kenya will decide".

The demonstrators were led by opposition politician James Orengo who said they will not back down in their demands for electoral body reforms.

In the run-up to the reelection, there were attempts by Kenyatta's Jubilee Party, which has a majority in parliament, to reform electoral laws and the IEBC, but the opposition dismissed the efforts as insincere.

On Sept. 5, Odinga made public his party's list of "irreducible minimums", their prerequisites for the electoral commission before they would agree to move forward with elections.

During a press conference in Nairobi, he said he could not be sure that the October 26 poll would be free, fair and credible so he dropped out. Odinga said he wanted to allow for reforms that would deliver a "credible election".

Odinga had threatened to boycott the fresh elections if the electoral commission is not reformed.

Thousands have protested across the country in response to his call for demonstrations on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays as political rhetoric on both sides has grown more angry.

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