POLLS OPEN IN KENYAN ELECTION, BOYCOTTED BY OPPOSITION

Polls opened on Thursday in a repeat presidential election in Kenya that is mired in uncertainty as opposition leader Raila Odinga has called on his supporters to boycott the vote.

“It is my duty to vote. Last time the queue was all around the block and I waited six hours to vote, this time the people are few,” said taxi driver David Njeru, 26, as he waited to vote in Nairobi’s Mathare slum.

In Odinga’s western stronghold of Kisumu, several polling stations remained closed in stark contrast to the scenes during the first election on August 8, when people lined up overnight to vote.

Ballot boxes and electronic kits to identify voters and transmit results had not arrived in polling stations, with some officials facing attacks from opposition supporters while trying to deliver voting material.

“So far, we have not deployed any material, and we have not deployed election officials. The reason is security, election officials do not want to go against the will of this community,” said returning officer John Ngutai.

“We hope to be able to deploy later in the day. We hope for the best but prepare for the worst. The worst would be no election officials.”

Odinga has refused to take part in the vote, arguing that the election commission has failed to make reforms after the Supreme Court last month overturned the result from August citing “irregularities” and mismanagement.

His withdrawal assures victory for President Uhuru Kenyatta, while likely opening the way for further legal battles after the election.

Source: National News Agency