East Africa

Five questions about Kenya’s election saga

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Kenya’s election saga has been fraught with drama, some of which has been violent

Two months after Kenyans lined up to vote for a president, the election is still far from over.

A dramatic series of twists and turns has seen the first result annulled and a new election scheduled that opposition leader Raila Odinga is now refusing to take part in.

Here are five questions to help untangle the political crisis that has plunged east Africa’s biggest economy into uncertainty.

– What does Odinga want? –

A free and fair election and to finally be president: two things he believes go hand-in-hand.

The 72-year-old flag bearer for the National Super Alliance (NASA) coalition believes the August 8 election was rigged, causing him to lose what was widely seen as his last shot at the presidency after three previous failed efforts.

To the shock of many, he won a Supreme Court petition on September 1 to have President Uhuru Kenyatta’s victory overturned.

In its ruling, the court cited “irregularities” in the counting process and mismanagement by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC).

On Tuesday, Odinga said the IEBC had failed to make the vital reforms he demanded ahead of a re-run on October 26, and he was thus withdrawing from the race.

He had wanted top IEBC officials sacked, and for new firms to take control of election technology and the printing of ballot papers — demands the commission said were impossible to fulfil in the 60-day period legally allowed for a new election.

Odinga believes his withdrawal forces the IEBC to start the whole process again from scratch, leaving more time for reforms.

In the meantime, his party has called for daily protests from next week to maintain the pressure for reforms.

– What does Kenyatta want? –

Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta has said the election re-run will go ahead, whether his challenger Raila Odinga participates or not

To remain president, which he believes will happen if the election goes ahead on October 26.

The 55-year-old son of Kenya’s first president was infuriated by the invalidation of his 54 percent victory, slamming the Supreme Court judges as “crooks” and vowing to “fix” the court if re-elected.

He insists the election take place, with or without Odinga.

“He said it is his democratic right not to participate, we tell him also, it is the people’s right to participate in an election, to chose their leaders,” Kenyatta said.

– What does the IEBC say? –

Not much.

After widespread expectation the commission would clarify the way forward, it said little in a statement Wednesday, noting only that Odinga had yet to submit the required form to pull out of the race.

It appears to be pushing forward as if the election will happen on October 26, saying that all eight original candidates would be allowed on the ballot following a High Court order on Wednesday.

The electoral body had initially said only Odinga and Kenyatta should take part, prompting a third candidate to complain to the court which ruled in his favour.

The IEBC has said once Odinga submits the required form,

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