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Kenya: opposition opponent Odinga announces his withdrawal from the October 26 presidential election

Ⓒ AFP – SIMON MAINA – | Kenyan opposition leader Raila Odinga in Nairobi, October 9, 2017

Kenya’s opposition opponent Raila Odinga announced on Tuesday his withdrawal from the October 26 presidential election following the court’s invalidation of the re-election of outgoing President Uhuru Kenyatta in the 8 August election.

“Considering the interests of the people of Kenya, the region and the world, we believe that the interest of all will be better served by the abandonment of the presidential candidacy (of the opposition coalition, ed) to the election scheduled for 26 October 2017, “Odinga told a news conference in Nairobi.

The Kenyan Supreme Court on September 1 had invalidated Kenyatta’s re-election with 54.27% of the vote, against 44.74% of Mr. Odinga, referring to irregularities in the transmission of the results, overwhelming the Electoral Commission (IEBC) for its management of the ballot, and ordering a new election.

The opposition had then conditioned its participation in the new poll, scheduled on 26 October, to a thorough reform of the IEBC, including the eviction of several of its officials. It has also organized demonstrations against the IEBC as the invective between power and opposition multiplied.

“We have come to the conclusion that IEBC does not intend to undertake changes in its operations and staff to ensure that the” unlawfulness and irregularities “that led to the invalidation of the August 8 do not recur, “detailed Odinga.

“Everything indicates that the election scheduled for October 26th will be worse than the previous one,” he added, saying that his withdrawal implies that the election of October 26 must be “canceled” and that a new electoral process must be organized at a later date.

The real implications of this withdrawal are, however, uncertain at this time, and should be the subject of a fierce battle over the interpretation of legislation.

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