Kenya’s opposition leader Raila Odinga has vowed to boycott the upcoming presidential election re-run scheduled for 17 October “without legal and constitutional guarantees” that the election would be conducted free and fair.
Last week, the supreme court of Kenya cancelled the August presidential election, won by the incumbent President Uhuru Kenyatta, because according to the court, the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) had committed “illegalities and irregularities” in the transmission of results. According to the court verdict, the commission had not followed the Constitution. The court went ahead to order a fresh re-election within 60 days. Following the court order, the election commission has fixed the re-election day on 17 October. However, Raila Odinga, Kenya’s opposition leader, who went to court to ask for the nullification of the last presidential election has rejected the 17 October date, arguing that the conditions and problems, which hampered the last month’s presidential election are still not corrected.
Mr. Odinga vowed to only take part in the October re-election with “legal and constitutional guarantees.” To him, the environment which resulted in the nullification of the last month’s presidential election has not been corrected. Mr. Odinga accused the IEBC of corruption and partiality in favour of President Kenyatta. Furthermore, the opposition candidate alleged that the computer server of the IEBC was tampered with, making it possible for unauthorised persons have access to the server and thus can manipulate the results of the election – one of the main allegations, which made the supreme court to declare the last month election null and void. Mr. Odinga equally alleged that the election commission did not consult him, nor his party before fixing the date (17 October) for the re-election. He maintained that election date was set by the governing Jubilee Party and furiously insisted that election “should be a product of consultation with concerned parties and not a unilateral decision.”
With the above allegations in mind, Raila Odinga set the following conditions before he participates in the re-election:
– The IEBC must strictly follow the Constitution’s guidance on conducting elections.
– Dismissal and persecution of the election commissioners who he accused of being partisan
– A thorough review of the electronic transmission of results
– All the eight candidates on the ballot paper in August must participate in the re-election, faulting the alleged call by the IEBC that the new election will just be between Mr. Odinga and Mr. Kenyatta.
“You cannot (make) a mistake twice and expect to get different results,” Odinga argued.
Even though President Kenyatta said he respected the court’s nullification verdict, he disagreed with the decision. Mr. Kenyatta went ahead to label the Chief Justice David Maraga a “crook” and vowed to “fix” the Supreme Court if re-elected.
Having set the conditions for his participation in the re-election, scheduled for 17 October, the questions are: Are those conditions set by Raila Odinga legitimate enough in view of the reasons behind the supreme court’s nullification of the August Presidential election? Or is Raila Odinga giving near impossible conditions, which might result in the re-election delays or possibly lead to violence?