Kenyan opposition leader Raila Odinga of the National Super Alliance coalition addresses supporters after he was announced as the presidential candidate for the 2017 general elections during a rally at the Uhuru Park grounds, in Nairobi

Odinga Pulls Out of Kenya Presidential Election Re-run

Kenyan opposition leader Raila Odinga said on Tuesday he would not stand in a court-ordered re-run of August’s presidential election that is scheduled for Oct. 26, saying the polls would not be free or fair.

President Uhuru Kenyatta said the election would proceed as planned, despite the withdrawal of his only challenger.

Both men’s announcements indefinitely prolong nearly three months of political uncertainty that has worried citizens and blunted growth in Kenya, East Africa’s biggest economy and a staunch Western ally in a region roiled by conflict.

An ally of Odinga called for nationwide protests from Wednesday, raising the prospect of violent confrontations between police and protesters.

But for now there was little sign that the demonstrations could boil over into ethnic clashes. Protests and ethnic violence killed 1,200 people after a disputed 2007 presidential election.

Odinga repeated previous criticism of the election board, called the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), for not replacing some officials, who he blamed for irregularities in the August poll. Allied politicians standing alongside him called for a continuation of peaceful protests.

“Following the withdrawal of the NASA presidential candidate, the Commission and the legal team are meeting and will communicate way forward,” the IEBC said on Twitter after Odinga spoke.

“There is no intention on the part of the IEBC to undertake any changes to its operations and parts of the personnel to ensure that the illegalities and irregularities that led to the invalidation of 8th of August do not happen again,” Odinga told a news conference in the capital of Nairobi.

 

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