New presidential election in Kenya overshadowed by political crisis


New presidential election in Kenya overshadowed by political crisis

Eddie Haywood

4 October 2017

On Monday police in several cities across Kenya used tear gas and live rounds to disperse protests called by Raila Odinga and his National Super Alliance party (NASA). The demonstrators demanded a change in leadership of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) and to stop the ruling government from changing voting laws, before a new presidential poll takes place on October 26.

With the atmosphere of a siege, scores of police were deployed in the cities of Kisumu, Nairobi, and Mombasa to quash the demonstrations, leaving one dead and several injured, with many others beaten and detained.

The social unrest arises against the backdrop of the September 1 Supreme Court decision that invalidated the August 8 presidential election result, which named incumbent president Uhuru Kenyatta the winner over his challenger Raila Odinga, citing that “balloting had been tainted by irregularities.” As part of the court’s decision, it ordered a new poll to be conducted within 60 days.

The protesters’ demands called for IEBC head Ezra Chiloba to resign, with many chanting and holding placards bearing the slogan, “Chiloba Must Go!”

The IEBC, in a bid to quell social anger, agreed to a meeting on Tuesday with both presidential candidates, stating on Twitter, “We look forward to meeting with the presidential candidates. We hope to create a common understanding on the 26th October poll.”

Kenyatta skipped the meeting, leaving only Odinga and a contingent of NASA officials to attend, in which the group failed to reach a consensus with the election commission on Odinga’s demand of “irreducible minimums,” a reference to Odinga’s and NASA’s demand that…

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