President Uhuru Kenyatta and his erstwhile political nemesis Raila Odinga will square off in the ballot October 17 in fresh elections called by the country’s electoral body, IEBC following the nullification of the presidential elections result by the Supreme Court last Friday.
The Independent Electoral Boundaries Commission (IEBC) announced Monday the duo who emerged from a vigorous court battle that saw the Justice David Maraga led Supreme Court sway its vote in favour of Raila Odinga will be the only ones contesting in the October 17 poll.
“A fresh presidential election will be held on the 17th of October 2017. This is in conformity with the Supreme Court decision annulling the presidential election held on 8th August 2017,” the Commission.
Drawing its wisdom from the 2013 Supreme Court decision which upheld Kenyatta’s election in the petition then, the Supreme Court said only the petitioners (Odinga and his running mate Kalonzo Musyoka) and the 3rd and 4th respondents (Kenyatta and running mate William Ruto) will be the only constestants in the ballot.
In addressing the question of fresh elections, the Supreme Court ruled in 2013 thus: If the petitioner was only one of the candidates, and who had taken the second position in vote-tally to the President-elect, then ‘fresh elections’ will, in law be confined to the petitioner and the President-elect. All the remaining candidates who did not contest the election of the President-elect, will be assumed to have either conceded, or acquiesced in the results declared by IEBC; and such candidates may not participate in the ‘fresh election’.
Other candidates in the race-Eukuru Aukot and Michael Wainana had applied to be enjoyed in the case as interested parties.
The Supreme Court last Friday invalidated the election of Kenyatta in a historic ruling sending the two contestants to the convince the voters once again in what will be a winner takes all race.
The Supreme Court in 2013 further observed that the candidate who receives the most votes in a fresh election would be declared elected as president setting aside the 50%+1 rule which applies to election in the first instance.
The Elections Act and the Constitution provides that elections shall be conducted within a 60 day period upon the court verdict. In settling for October 17, the electoral body seems to have taken into consideration a plea by the country’s education ministry which had requested the elections be held before November 17 so as not to interfere with the National Examinations for primary and secondary schools set to start from November 1.
Meanwhile both candidates-Raila Odinga and Uhuru Kenyatta have exuded confidence they will each pull an outright win in the fresh poll which will involve over 19 million voters. The candidates will be banking on over 4 million voters who did not participate in the last poll in addition to the swing counties which could tilt the scales in favour of either candidate.