Kenya Will Hold Rerun of Presidential Election on Oct. 17

By Felix Njini

Raila Odinga, opposition leader and presidential candidate for the National Super Alliance (NASA), speaks during a news conference at his headquarters in central Nairobi, Kenya, on Thursday, July 20, 2017. Photographer: Riccardo Gangale/Bloomberg
Raila Odinga, opposition leader and presidential candidate for the National Super Alliance (NASA), speaks during a news conference at his headquarters in central Nairobi, Kenya, on Thursday, July 20, 2017. Photographer: Riccardo Gangale/Bloomberg

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and former Prime Minister Raila Odinga will face each other in a new presidential election on Oct. 17, the electoral commission said, after the Supreme Court annulled last month’s vote.

Kenyatta and Odinga and their running mates will be the only candidates for the poll, the Independent Electoral & Boundaries Commission said in a statement in the capital, Nairobi, on Monday.

“The commission is revising the operational and procedural requirements for the conduct of the fresh election and will share details with stakeholders” soon, it said. The authority is awaiting details of the court’s judgment “to identify areas that require improvement in the management of the fresh election,” it said.

Kenya’s top court on Sept. 1 upheld the main opposition’s complaint that Kenyatta’s victory in the Aug. 8 vote was aided by rigging in a shock decision that marked the first time a court in Africa has overturned the results of a presidential election. The country is the world’s largest shipper of black tea and a regional hub for companies including Google Inc. and Coca-Cola Co.

Odinga waged unsuccessful presidential campaigns in 1997, 2007 and 2013. The Supreme Court threw out his allegations of rigging in the 2013 vote that propelled Kenyatta to power, a ruling Odinga has previously described as a “travesty of justice.”

Management Changes

The opposition alliance has demanded management changes at the IEBC and the prosecution of officials who mishandled the vote. An impasse may develop between Odinga and Kenyatta on the issue before the next election, said Ahmed Salim, a Dubai-based vice president at Teneo Strategies.

“With the commission’s credibility damaged by last Friday’s ruling, the opposition could over the coming days push for some changes in the election managers,” Salim said. “A stand-off on this issue is expected between Kenyatta’s and Odinga’s teams given that the president and several members of the government have vowed to fight any attempt to remove IEBC officials from office.”

Supreme Court Chief Justice David Maraga said “irregularities and illegalities” had been committed by the electoral body in the vote. The court’s more detailed written judgment is expected within 21 days of the ruling.

Source: https://www.bloomberg.com

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