Kenya: Odinga pulls out of election repeat

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Opposition leader Raila Odinga has pulled out of Kenya’s election re-run later this month.

Kenya is set to take to the polls once again on October 28 but Odinga’s withdrawal places further doubt on the country’s ability to host another election before the end of the month. Any vote will now have to take place without an opposition candidate. However, Odinga feels his withdrawal will be enough to prevent Kenya’s electoral commission from staging a second election in the space of three months.

Odinga withdraws

After threatening multiple times to boycott the proposed October 28 election re-run, Odinga has taken the formal step of withdrawing from proceedings. His coalition party says this will give Kenya’s electoral commission “adequate time to undertake the reforms necessary to conduct an election that is in strict conformity with the constitution, the relevant laws and the constitution”.

However, while the opposition group feels elections won’t go ahead without Odinga, President Kenyatta seems confident.

“We have no problem going back to elections,” he said, speaking at a rally in Voi. “We are sure we will get more votes than the last time.”

He added: “We are also telling him [Odinga] it is the people’s right to choose their leader. It is their sovereign right to choose their leader of choice.”

Added uncertainty

Odinga’s withdrawal places further uncertainty over this month’s election re-run. While the dialogue from his political camp claims Kenya won’t be able to hold a second election without an opposition candidate, the government and IEBC seem happy to push on ahead.

Some suggest this could be Odinga’s way of bowing out from politics on a high after successfully pushing for August’s election result to be annulled – a first in Africa’s democratic history.

Either way, his withdrawal place yet more uncertainty upon an election shrouded in doubt. Which only contributes further to the political tension building on the streets of Nairobi and other parts of Kenya.

 

Featured image: “Kenya Election Posters” flickr photo by theglobalpanorama https://flickr.com/photos/121483302@N02/14483736320 shared under a Creative Commons (BY-SA) license

About Aaron Brooks

Aaron Brooks is a UK journalist who wants to cut out the international agendas in news. Spending his early years in both England and Northern Ireland he saw the difference between reality and media coverage at an early age. After graduating from the University of Chester with a BA in journalism, his travels revealed just how large the gap between news and the real world can be. As Editor-in-Chief at East Africa Monitor, it’s his job to provide a balanced view of what’s going on in the region for English-speaking audiences.