The repeat of the presidential election ordered by Kenya’s Supreme Court will take place this week on Thursday. The country is understandably in suspense as the main opposition candidate, Raila Odinga, has withdrawn from the race while two key officials of the election commission have expressed doubts about the prospects for a credible poll.
On Sunday, Kenyans both at home and abroad went into churches to pray to God to see their nation through a week with so much potential for violence as it faces a period of political uncertainty.
At various church services held across the East African country on Sunday, believers prayed for peace as the East African nation prepares for the presidential election re-run.
Meanwhile, Pope Francis has urged Catholics to pray for world peace, with a focus on Kenya. Reuters reports that crowds gathered in St. Peter’s Square in Rome with flags and banners while Pope Francis appeared at a window of the Papal apartment and greeted the crowds.
“I ask you to join my prayers for peace in the world. In recent days, I am following with close attention the situation in Kenya, which I visited in 2015, and I pray that the country be able to tackle the current difficulties in a climate of constructive dialogue, having a heartfelt quest for the common good,” he added.
Kenya’s Supreme Court annulled the first election, held on 8 August and won by incumbent Uhuru Kenyatta, over procedural irregularities.
The opposition, led by Raila Odinga, has said it will boycott the re-run set for Thursday (26 October) unless several demands are met, including the sacking of the chief executive of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), Ezra Chiloba. The IEBC boss has officially taken a three-week leave and will not be involved in the election.
The electoral commission has maintained the election will go ahead and Kenyatta, has also insisted the vote must be held. The opposition NASA coalition, led by Odinga and Kalonzo Musyoka, has said it will not participate in the election, and has told its supporters not to turn up for the vote.
On Sunday, Odinga said he will not challenge Kenyatta’s win in the Supreme Court should the incumbent president be declared the winner of the election, but he will not recognize the victory as legitimate.
Adira Kallo with agency reports