NAIROBI, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta has snubbed Thursday’s crisis meeting called by the Chairman of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission ahead of the Oct 26 court-mandated fresh presidential election and instead spent the day campaigning in western Kenya.
IEBC Chairperson Wafula Chebukati instead held a meeting with opposition leader Raila Odinga, who had earlier announced he was pulling out of the presidential election, indicating that there is no prospect of a credible poll.
On Wednesday, Chebukati warned that he could not guarantee a credible election because of political interference in the commission’s work, further deepening the political crisis in the East African nation.
Chebukati reached out to all political leaders to help end the political crisis in the country. “Once the Kenyan people see that their leaders are talking and putting Kenya first, then we can douse the tension in the air, said Chebukati.
On Thursday, the IEBC said it had “regrettably rescheduled” the meeting. No reason or new date was given.
After a closed-door meeting between Odinga and Chebukati, the opposition leader called for talks on the political deadlock, but dismissed claims that he is after a power-sharing deal. “I am not going to fall down to cheap propaganda being perpetuated by people drunk with power, said Odinga.
Odinga has called for mass protests on Election Day, indicating that there will be no poll next Thursday.
In parts of Western Kenya, which is an opposition stronghold, election officials have come under attack from opposition supporters who are opposed to the election.
President Kenyatta insists the election will go ahead. “It is your right to say that you are not standing and nobody will deny you that right but you have no right to deny those who are preparing our nation for an election.
The statement by Chebukati that he could not guarantee a credible vote seemed to embolden Odinga to stay off the ballot.
Odinga said: “That basically confirmed our position when we pulled out of the race two weeks ago, that basically confirmed what we have been saying that we do not see a free and fair election taking place on the 26th, the signs were there for all to see.
The Oct 26 election follows the annulment of President Kenyatta’s victory in the Aug 8 general election on grounds that the elections were marred by irregularities and illegalities. According to the Kenyan Constitution, fresh elections must held within 60 days of the ruling and that period lapses at the end of this month.
Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK