AFRICAN UNION STANDS READY TO INITIATE MEASURES TO RESOLVE KENYAN POLL STALEMATE

ADDIS ABABA, The African Union (AU) is prepared to take initiative to assist Kenya to complete the pending presidential election, AU Commission Chairperson Moussa Faki said.

The AU Commission chief said he was closely following the situation in Kenya, including the decision by opposition leader Raila Odinga from the National Super Alliance (NASA) Coalition to withdraw from the rerun of the presidential election scheduled for Oct 26, and the subsequent political developments.

In a statement, the AU Chairperson called on all stakeholders to exercise leadership during this crucial period of Kenya’s democracy.

He said leadership was required to ensure the successful completion of the electoral process and contribute to the consolidation of democracy and preservation of peace and stability in the country.

The AU chief spoke on the day the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) decided to keep the opposition leader Odinga on the ballot.

According to the IEBC, Odinga should have signed a statutory form signaling his withdrawal from the Oct 26 contest and therefore his withdrawal from the race was incomplete.

Odinga withdrew from the race citing the IEBC “stonewalling” of any efforts to inject transparency in the elections.

Key among the demands by NASA is the opening of servers to inspection.

The opposition coalition also required the IEBC to allow its agents to sit with staff verifying the election results. The IEBC did not object to this request in its response to the alliances requests, but rejected several others.

Key among those requests it rejected was that the a foreign expert should be appointed to oversee the technology elements of the elections.

The IEBC said it had been assisted by foreign development partners to employ some experts and it did not require external experts.

To push its reforms, the opposition leader announced his withdrawal from the repeat election in a strategic move aimed at forcing a postponement of the elections.

According to Odinga’s party, the Supreme Court in 2013 made a decision defining conditions under which a new election would take place if a candidate nominated for elections after the nullification of a presidential election abandoned the race.

However, the ruling Jubilee Alliance Party lawyers say the 2013 decision was barely an opinion of the judge and non-binding.

Odinga’s party has vowed it would move to the Supreme Court to see if it disowned its decision of 2013.

The AU has deployed an Observer Mission in Kenya since September 2017, to support the electoral process and assist towards its peaceful and successful conclusion.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK