Kenyan Opposition Agrees Broad Alliance to Take On Kenyatta

Kenya’s biggest opposition parties agreed to form a broad alliance to stop President Uhuru Kenyatta winning a second term in elections this year.

The alliance brings together parties including the main Coalition for Reforms and Democracy, the Amani National Congress, or ANC, and the former ruling Kenya African National Union. Presidential and parliamentary votes are scheduled to take place Aug. 8.

“We, individually and collectively as leaders of coalitions and political parties in the opposition, commit ourselves to a united opposition,” Senator James Orengo of CORD said at a rally Wednesday in the capital, Nairobi.

Opposition leaders are still discussing who will be their presidential candidate under a unified banner, dubbed the National Super Alliance by ANC leader Musalia Mudavadi. CORD leader Raila Odinga, a former prime minister who has lost the race for the presidency in three previous elections, along with Mudavadi, Wiper Democratic Movement-Kenya head Kalonzo Musyoka and Senate minority leader Moses Wetang’ula have signaled their willingness to run against Kenyatta.

The opposition also called off plans for nationwide protests over changes to the country’s electoral legislation signed by Kenyatta earlier this week. The amendments provide for a manual mechanism for voter registration and transmission of the results as a back-up should electronic methods fail. CORD threatened to hold demonstrations because it said the changes may open the electoral system to abuse by enabling the registration of dead people or under-aged voters.

Instead of the protests, the opposition will focus on a campaign encouraging people to vote in the election.

“Mass action will become mass registration from here,” Musyoka said.

Kenya’s opposition has disputed the outcome of the past two elections. Kenyatta won the last vote in 2013 with 50.07 percent of the vote, while in 2007, President Mwai Kibaki’s contested victory sparked two months of ethnic violence that left at least 1,100 people dead.

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