Kenya’s election commission had said incumbent President Uhuru Kenyatta (right) won the 8 August polls by 1.5 million votes but that was rejected by opposition leader Raila Odinga (left), who says the 2017 election, as well as the previous ones, were rigged against him. The two men will square off again on 26 October / Photo: NMP

Kenya’s election re-run postponed

Kenya’s new presidential election has been delayed to 26 October, after the country’s polls commission sought more time to reform voting processes. The re-run had originally been scheduled for 17 October.

Kenya’s elections body, the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), has announced a new date for the presidential poll rerun ordered by the Supreme Court.

A statement issued on by IEBC chairman, Wafula Chebukati, said the new date for the elections is 26 October. He added that the commission was studying the detailed ruling issued by the court on Wednesday (20 September).

“There is no doubt that the judgement impacts on the election operations and in particular technology to be deployed.

“In order to ensure that the Commission is fully prepared to deliver an election that meets the standards set out by the Supreme Court, we wish to notify the public and all stakeholders that the fresh presidential election shall now be held on Thursday, 26 October 2017,” the statement added.

The court in annulling the vote ordered that a rerun be held within 60 days – the IEBC had earlier slated 17 October for the rerun. The date was stiffly opposed by the petitioners, the opposition National Super Alliance (NASA), while the ruling Jubilee coalition insisted that it should he held on the scheduled date.

The country’s apex court on 1 September 2017 annulled the 8 August presidential election with the majority of justices holding that it was not held with due compliance to electoral rules.

Their ruling followed a petition filed by the opposition coalition, NASA, led by former Prime Minister Raila Amolo Odinga.

The court’s detailed judgment given on Wednesday hinged on the failure of the election board to check electronic tallies, which are vulnerable to typos, against paper forms intended as a fail-safe backup before announcing results.

In the introduction to the detailed ruling, Judge Philomena Mwilu criticised the election board for refusing to comply with court orders to open its computer servers, saying it meant that opposition claims of hacking or manipulation could be true.

“Noncompliance or failure by the board to do as ordered must be held against it,” said Judge Philomena Mwilu.

Mwilu also said it appeared the board did not have all the necessary tally forms when they announced official results.

“The (board) cannot therefore be said to have verified the results,” she noted.

The postponement of the election rerun came as President Uhuru Kenyatta accused the country’s Supreme Court of staging a “coup” against the people. Earlier, the chief justice told a press conference that judges were getting death threats and the police were not offering adequate protection, an allegation that the chief of police has denied.

Adira Kallo

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