Kenya Braces for Presidential Election Announcement

Kenya is bracing for an announcement by its election commission Monday as its presidential poll drama continues.

Will the election commission declare incumbent President Uhuru Kenyatta the winner of last week’s vote in which he faced no opposition in the re-run of the August election?

If it does, how will the commission reconcile the fact that a number of voters where prohibited from voting Thursday where opposition supporters stopped voters from going to the polls? Plans to restage the vote Saturday in those areas were scrapped in the wake of more demonstrations at voting locations.

Or, will the commission schedule yet another presidential election re-run?

Opposition leader Raila Odinga on Sunday demanded a new presidential election in 90 days, saying the country is in “grave danger” from political violence.

William Ruto, Kenyatta’s deputy, is adamant that a new vote is out of the question. “There will be no election in 90 days,” he told Doha-based broadcaster Al-Jazeera, “there will be no discussion on matters to do with elections.”

The October vote was a re-run of the August presidential election whose results were thrown out by the country’s Supreme Court because of irregularities.

“It was Uhuru versus Uhuru,” Odinga told the Associated Press about Thursday’s poll. He also said the president is trying to “destroy other institutions of governance in our country.”

Odinga has accused the United States and other Western diplomats of being “very irresponsible” for urging Thursday’s repeat vote.

“Us, we are talking about credible elections…they say any election is OK. They say they are Kenya’s friends…if they are our friends, then we do not need enemies,” he told AP.

Odinga said he is willing to talk with the Kenyatta government on holding a free and fair election, while, at the same time he calls for strikes, boycotts, and peaceful protests to pressure Kenyatta.

With nearly all the ballots counted, the election commission has given Kenyatta about 7 million votes — a number Odinga says has to be inflated because of a low registered voter turnout.

Post-election violence has left at least eight people dead in Kenya, including an elderly man possibly murdered in the Koguta region — an area located between the Kalenjin community which supports Kenyatta and the Luo community which backs Odinga.

Tension and hatred between the two sides over land rights and politics have simmered for years.

Kalenjin youths armed with bows, arrows and machetes told VOA’s Mohammed Yusuf that Luo residents have been blocking roads as part of a political protest, making their lives difficult. They say they were prevented from getting to a polling place to vote Thursday.

A local Luo leader, Marreen Otiang, says the killing must stop.

“We do not want any Luo dying in the name of insecurity, in the name of voting. We have a right if they want peace, let them give us peace. Enough is enough. We are tired.”

Source: Voice of America