Kenyan Opposition Says It Has Yet to Reach a Deal With Election Panel

Updated on
  • Opposition has ‘zero faith’ in electoral commission: Odinga
  • Kenya scheduled to hold rerun of annulled vote on Oct. 26

Kenya’s opposition has yet to reach an agreement with the electoral authority about how this month’s rerun of the country’s failed presidential election will be conducted.

The National Super Alliance is continuing discussions that began on Tuesday with the Independent Electoral & Boundaries Commission about the way forward, former Prime Minister Raila Odinga told reporters Wednesday in the capital, Nairobi. IEBC Chairman Wafula Chebukati said on Tuesday it’s made progress on meeting the opposition’s demands.

Raila Odinga

Photographer: Yasuyoshi Chiba/AFP via Getty Images

“There is no agreement between us and the IEBC,” Odinga said. “We have sent to the IEBC a very concise document outlining what went wrong and what we want to see rectified before we go for these repeat elections.”

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. Odinga’s alliance 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. Kenyatta was declared the winner of the vote, which was overturned after Odinga challenged the outcome.

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.

‘Technical Areas’

IEBC spokesman Andrew Limo insisted the commission has made progress on “a lot of technical areas” with the opposition, and the authority is optimistic of reaching a broad agreement.

“Both Nasa and Jubilee are our clients and we are serving them equally and fairly,” Limo said in a phone interview. “Our well-meaning endeavors will soon become apparent when our clients see how we have implemented the recommendations of the Supreme Court.”

The commission plans to make a presentation to parliament on Thursday outlining its concerns about changes to Kenya’s electoral laws proposed by Kenyatta’s Jubilee Party. A commission official said last week the revisions, which include altering the way staff are appointed and make decisions, would strip the body of its independence.

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