Raila Odinga withdraws…The opposition leader and the current presidential candidate of NASA Chief Raila Odinga have appeared in what can be seen as an epic moment in Kenya’s political history to formally withdraw from the scheduled October 26 re-run of the 2017 Presidential Election.
Raila Odinga made this declaration on Tuesday in a press briefing, this happened about one month and a half since the Supreme court nullified the previous election held on August 8.
Recall, the electoral commission (IEBC) had declared the incumbent president Mr. Uhuru Kenyatta the winner of the August 8 vote with 54 percent of the ballots, to 44 percent for the opposition Mr. Raila Odinga — a margin of about 1.4 million votes. But Mr. Odinga, 72, petitioned the Supreme Court to annul what he called a “massive fraud.” To everyone’s surprise, the court handed him a victory.
The Supreme court made this declaration saying that the results were declared on a 4 – 2 majority and did not the meet the standard required by the law.
More so, the Supreme court further ordered for a re-run of the presidential election which is expected to take place on October 26, giving the opposition another shot at the presidency.
The shocking announcement made by the opposition leader Chief Raila Odinga who said that the IEBC should now cancel the re-run election scheduled for October 26, 2017, and conduct fresh nominations has left the nation in turmoil and everyone is keen on knowing what will become of the East African Country.
In his speech, Chief Odinga accused the IEBC of acting in bad faith for calling for the October 26 election without addressing the Opposition’s irreducible minimums it had presented.
“For over five weeks, the commission has engaged us in a ping pong game well knowing they had no intention to streamline the electoral system to accord with the constitution and electoral laws.
“It is now clear that the same criminal enterprise that perpetuated the fraud in the August election is firmly in charge of the Commission and setting up even more lethal mechanisms to defraud the Kenyan voter, he said.
However, Mr. Raila Odinga’s announcement doesn’t mean that the incumbent President Uhuru Kenyatta can now be automatically sworn in as the president-elect.
Representatives of the ruling Jubilee coalition argue that Regulation 52 of the Kenya General Elections means that Odinga’s withdrawal is invalid. That regulation says that a candidate has to withdraw their nomination within three days of submitting it. Under the 2013 decision, candidates participate in a rerun on the basis nomination certificates they already held. Jubilee is arguing that for Odinga’s withdrawal to be valid, he would have had to submit it in June of this year and they want the October 26 election to go ahead with Odinga’s name on the ballot, even if he does not contest.
Mr. Kenyatta responded to Mr. Odinga’s announcement on Tuesday by saying that his opponent had exercised his “democratic right” to pull out of the race. But he also described his rival’s withdrawal as “injustice,” saying billions of dollars had already been spent to prepare for the rerun election. “That money would have been used to build roads,” Mr. Kenyatta said.
The decision is however left for the court to determine whether Raila Odinga withdraws or not. Everyone is eager to hear what the court has to say about the recent development.
Western diplomats, who had praised the initial vote, have now condemned Kenya’s political leaders for preventing a smooth and peaceful election.
“If the upcoming election devolves into chaos, the economy, businesses, jobholders, and families — all Kenyans — will pay a heavy price,” read a statement from a group of diplomats representing the United States, Britain, and the European Union.
More to come