AFRICA/KENYA - Strong tensions after Odinga pulled out of the October 26 presidential polls

Wednesday, 11 October 2017 elections  

Nairobi (Agenzia Fides) - Strong tensions in Kenya, where yesterday October 10, opposition leader, Raila Odinga, pulled out of the October 26 presidential polls.
On September 1, the Supreme Court judgement nullified President Uhuru Kenyatta's vote win, and stipulated that elections had to be held within 60 days.
Odinga said he was withdrawing amid concerns that the re-run would not be free and fair, renewing calls for a new electoral board (IEBC), whose current members he blamed for the irregularities, to be appointed. On the other hand, the President of the Court ruled that the Electoral Commission "ignored or refused to conduct the presidential election in a manner consistent with the dictates of the constitution"" (see Fides 1/9/2017).
Odinga's supporters are pouring into the streets of the capital, Nairobi, to protest after the Assembly this morning passed an amendment to the country’s election law, saying that if one candidate withdrew from a repeat presidential election, the other one would automatically win.
A political-institutional crisis has thus opened up between the Supreme Court, National Assembly and Electoral Commission. The Supreme Court today ordered a fresh election between the original 8 candidates of the August 8th polls in October. The Electoral Commission, instead had restricted the October 26 election to a duel between Kenyatta and Odinga.
On the occasion of the national prayer held on October 7, the Bishops had appealed to President Kenyatta for dialogue with Odinga. "As you may be aware, the aftermath of the General Elections has threatened and affected the peace and harmony of our Nation. In that breath, we appeal to Your Excellency to continue reaching out to the Opposition and other Political Leaders", said His Exc. Philip Anyolo, Bishop of Homa Bay, and President of the Bishops' Conference of Kenya (KCCB) in a message addressed to the Head of State. In the same message, Mgr. Anyolo reminded Kenyans that they have an obligation to live as one people regardless of ethnicity, colour, religion, region or background, for Jesus is our Peace". (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 11/10/2017)