Kenya’s opposition presidential candidate said the electoral authority should consider delaying the rerun of last month’s annulled presidential vote until the end of October to ensure it’s organized in a credible manner.
The date for the election could be adjusted within the 60-day period stipulated by the law to
give the electoral body enough time to prepare a fair vote, Raila Odinga, leader of the opposition National Super Alliance, said in an interview with Nairobi-based broadcaster KTN. The opposition will ensure the vote doesn’t take place if its concerns about how
the vote is being handled aren’t
addressed, he said.
“It doesn’t have to be done on October 17,” Odinga said. “Time is not a constraint here. We have sufficient time to prepare and deal with these outstanding issues.”
Kenya’s Supreme Court annulled the Aug. 8 presidential vote, in which President Uhuru Kenyatta was declared the winner, after finding the election hadn’t been conducted in accordance with the constitution. The Sept. 1 ruling marked the first time an African court overturned the results of a presidential election. The rerun has increased uncertainty in East Africa’s biggest economy as it clouds the outlook for the country, where growth is already slowing.
Odinga has called for Independent Electoral & Boundaries Commission officials including Chief
Executive Officer Ezra Chiloba
to be removed before the rerun takes place. The chairman of
the authority last week wrote
to Chiloba asking him to explain a series of failures in last month’s ballot. Kenyatta and his ruling Jubilee Party have vowed to block any attempts to remove staff at
“We want to go for an election when the playing field is level,” Odinga said. “Last time it was not. We are not ready to go back to a charade. Rather we are saying there will be no election.”
There’s a 20 percent probability of Odinga winning the rerun if there’s a swing away from Kenyatta by voters who hold the president responsible for last month’s fraudulent election and opposition supporters turn out in larger numbers, BMI Research, a unit of Fitch Group, said in a research note. The more likely scenario is that Kenyatta wins the vote with a slim majority, based on his party’s support in the key Rift Valley and central regions of the country, it said. Kenya is the world’s largest shipper of black tea and a regional hub for companies including Google Inc. and Coca-Cola Co.