Kenyan Opposition Meets to Discuss Unity Deal, New Electoral Law

Kenyan opposition leaders gathered in the capital on Wednesday to discuss the formation of an alliance to run against President Uhuru Kenyatta in this year’s elections and a contentious new electoral law.

More than 4,000 leaders of parties including the Coalition for Reforms and Democracy, led by ex-Premier Raila Odinga, are meeting at the Bomas conference center in Nairobi, where an announcement on the two issues is expected this afternoon, CORD spokesman Dennis Onyango said by phone.

“The leaders will address the future of opposition unity as well as the voting system and voter registration,” he 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 Odinga said Dec. 6 they expect the alliance to be established by February.

Kenyatta two days ago signed into law amendments to the electoral legislation that provide for a manual mechanism for voter registration and transmission of the results as a back-up should electronic methods fail. CORD says the changes may open the electoral system to abuse by enabling the registration of dead people or under-aged voters, and had threatened nationwide protests if the amendments were signed into law.

Kenyan opposition parties have 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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