Kenya's opposition leader Raila Odinga quits election rerun

Sophia Abdi Noor

Opposition leader Raila Odinga has called for countrywide protests to urge reforms to the electoral commission ahead of the October 26 rerun of the elections.

National Super Alliance (NASA) leader Raila Odinga has withdrawn from the October 26 fresh presidential election.

Ruto said as Jubilee, they will abide by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission's decision whether it declares President Uhuru Kenyatta as the victor or go for the scheduled election after the unexpected withdrawal of NASA.

The court cited mass irregularities and illegalities in the August poll. "A number of the officials of the commission should be sent home, some of them should be investigated for the heinous crimes they committed".

NASA presidential candidate, veteran politician Raila Amolo Odinga announced today that he and his running mate, Stephen Kalonzo Musyoka, will not take part in the repeat election, occasioned by the September 1 Supreme court ruling that nullified the election.

The court ruled the elections were flawed and said new polls must be conducted within 60 days.

Kenyatta was re-elected with 54.3% of votes, ahead of his rival Raila Odinga, with 44.7%.

Based on the Supreme Court's decision, Kenyatta can not run alone on the ballot or be sworn in automatically, said Ndungu Wainaina, executive director of the International Center for Policy and Conflict.

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September 4: Election commission announces that new vote will be October 17.

The original election - won by President Uhuru Kenyatta in August - was annulled by Kenya's supreme court after a successful legal challenge by Mr Odinga.

His withdrawal comes weeks after his opponent Uhuru Kenyatta threatened to "fix" the judiciary who nullified the latter's election win.

In reaction to the expected vote next week, the United States, a major donor to the Kenyan government and its security forces, said in a sharply worded statement on Friday: "Changing electoral laws without broad agreement just prior to a poll is not consistent with global best practice (and) increases political tension".

He believes Mr. Odinga should have used the constitutional channel to get the reforms he wanted and not to play to the gallery.

Odinga lambasted the electoral commission, saying the organization "stonewalled meaningful deliberations on the necessary reforms to ensure that the elections of 26th October are free and fair".

On Monday, witnesses say three people were seriously wounded during opposition demonstrations for changes to Kenya's electoral commission.

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