Kenya’s Ruling Party Seeks Contempt of Court Against Odinga

Kenya’s ruling party has asked for a contempt of court ruling against opposition chief Raila Odinga, saying Odinga and his supporters are trying to obstruct next week’s re-run of the presidential election.

The Jubilee Party petitioned the Supreme Court for the contempt-of-court ruling Thursday, as Odinga maintained he and his NASA coalition will not take part in the new election, scheduled for October 26.

Odinga said Kenya’s Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) is not prepared for the vote. “Rather than go through a charade, and waste people’s money and time, it is better for us to pull out,” he told reporters.

Jubilee Secretary-General Rapahel Tuju said Thursday that Odinga has not provided the commission with an official letter of withdrawal. He also said NASA supporters have prevented Jubilee party agents and the electoral commission from carrying out pre-election preparations in some opposition strongholds.

The Supreme Court voided the original election on September 1st, citing irregularities in the transmission of vote counts. The ruling, which nullified the victory of incumbent President Uhuru Kenyatta, gave the IEBC 60 days to organize a new election.

NASA is pressing to restart the election process from the beginning, while Jubilee wants the October 26 vote to take place despite Odinga’s objections.

Tuju also explained why President Kenyatta has turned down a requested meeting with IEBC Chairman Wafula Chebukati to discuss the impasse over the poll.

Tuju said Thursday the president and opposition leader “do not have power to define the rules of the game.”

“The Constitution envisages the role of the IEBC Chair to be the referee of the presidential election, not the mediator of political contests,” he wrote.

The political tensions have sparked concern about electoral violence in Kenya. A wave of ethnic violence after the disputed 2007 presidential election killed 1,100 people.

Source: Voice of America