Kenyan Opposition Says New Alliance May Be Formed by February

Kenyan opposition political parties may agree on a proposed super alliance by early next year to take on President Uhuru Kenyatta in August elections, the Coalition for Reforms and Democracy said.

Former Finance Minister Musalia Mudavadi has proposed forming a broad coalition of opposition parties, known as the National Super Alliance, to stop Kenyatta winning a second term. Mudavadi and CORD leader Raila Odinga said Dec. 6 they expect the alliance to be formed by February, the Daily Nation reported Wednesday.

“Talks are still under way and saying anything now would be pre-empting the discussions,” CORD spokesman Dennis Onyango said at an opposition briefing in the capital, Nairobi, on Thursday. “A deal may be reached much sooner” than February, he said.

Opposition leaders are discussing which of their leaders would be the flag-bearer in the race against Kenyatta. Potential candidates include Odinga, who has lost three previous attempts to win the presidency, CORD principals Kalonzo Musyoka and Moses Wetang’ula, as well as Mudavadi, who came third in the last election in 2013.

An opinion poll commissioned by the Nairobi-based Star newspaper and published last month found that 47 percent of Kenyans would back Kenyatta’s Jubilee Party next year, compared with about 40 percent for the proposed alliance. In 2013, the opposition disputed the outcome of the vote after Kenyatta obtained about 4,000 more votes than required to secure a first-round victory.

CORD on Thursday demanded that new commissioners be appointed to the country’s electoral body before the end of December, as required under new electoral legislation, and called for the removal of retired officials who are still conducting business for the commission.

“Any award of tenders in respect of the general elections to be held in 2017 must be canceled or frozen until the new commissioners take office and all systems in regard thereto are in place,” it said in a statement.

The opposition will also oppose any attempts to delay next year’s vote, which is scheduled for Aug. 8, it said.

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