Kenya’s Election Commission Says It Has Made Progress on Opposition’s Demands

Supporters of Kenya's opposition National Super Alliance leader, Raila Odinga, gather in the streets of Mathare on Sept. 1, 2017.

Photographer: Tony Karumba/AFP via Getty Images

Kenya’s electoral commission said it’s made progress on meeting the demands of the main opposition coalition on how the rerun of August’s annulled presidential election will be handled.

A day of talks between Independent Electoral & Boundaries Commission officials and representatives of the opposition National Super Alliance, or Nasa, and the ruling Jubilee Party were “fruitful,” commission Chairman Wafula Chebukati told reporters Tuesday in the capital, Nairobi. A technical team is working with Nasa to produce a statement on what has been agreed, he said.

“Most of the issues raised by Nasa have been addressed by the commission,” he said. “We shall publish what we have agreed with the Nasa team so that we can move on with the major part of giving Kenyans elections on Oct. 26.”

Kenya is holding a rerun of its presidential elections after the Supreme Court annulled a vote held on Aug. 8 citing “irregularities and illegalities” by the commission. The opposition, led by former Prime Minister Raila Odinga, has demanded the commission change staff and use different electronic systems in the new vote, an ultimatum that President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Jubilee Party has rejected.

Uncertainty about the new election is unnerving investors and clouding the outlook for an economy that’s already slowing. Kenya is a regional hub for companies including Toyota Motor Corp. and is on the cusp of becoming an oil exporter, with Tullow Oil Plc among firms that are developing the discovery of at least 1 billion barrels of crude resources.

The opposition alliance quit talks with the IEBC and Kenyatta’s Jubilee Party on Sept. 28 because of proposals by the ruling party to change the country’s electoral laws. A commission official said the revisions, which include altering the way staff are appointed and make decisions, would strip the body of its independence.

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