Kenya’s electoral body has declared Uhuru Kenyatta validly elected to serve for a second term in a controversial vote that has seen 24 constituencies failing to vote following the boycott move by the opposition.
The Independent Electoral Boundaries and Commission (IEBC) chairman Wafula Chebukati who had earlier cast aspersions on the credibility of the process declared Kenyatta winner after garnering 7.5 million votes.
The Commission said it was compelled to release the poll results after it emerged it the current security situation in opposition zones could not allow its officers to conduct the repeat exercise. It also hinged its argument on the Electoral Law which it noted allowed the polls body to announce the results if the remaining votes would not affect the existing results.
Opposition leader Raila Odinga boycotted the poll though his name appeared in the ballot box after the Commission said Odinga had not formally withdrawn. Odinga, the Commission said ought to have filled and submitted form 24A which is legally affirms a candidate’s withdrawal from the race. The opposition chief only sent a letter of notification to withdraw, the Chebukati led IEBC said.
Meanwhile the opposition has dismissed any results from the exercise terming it illegal and irregular. The opposition under the NASA umbrella had set demands which included resignation of key electoral officials ahead of the October 26 poll. The Supreme Court which nullified the August 8 poll ordered IEBC to conduct fresh polls within the 60 days period as set out in the country’s constitution.
Odinga said in an interview with AP Sunday the East African country was in grave danger noting any talks with his erstwhile nemesis Kenyatta can only happen if based on preparation for a new poll. “Our country is in grave danger,” said Odinga, adding that he is open to dialogue with the Kenyatta camp about holding what he calls a free and fair election.
“We are not unwilling to talk but the agenda will still be the same agenda — how to create a level playing field so that an election can be held in 90 days,” Odinga said at his home in the affluent Karen neighborhood. “This is what we will be willing to discuss with them.”
But Deputy President William Ruto who is Kenyatta’s running mate ruled out possibility of a new poll. “The Opposition boycotted the elections of its own volition and cannot purport to demand more elections outside the Constitution,” Ruto said Sunday in a CNN interview.
Four counties in opposition zones which account for 24 of the 290 counties did not take part in the exercise following the boycott call by NASA. These constituencies make up 1.7 million votes.