Kenya: Electoral commission doubts fair poll next week

Aaron Brown
October 19, 2017

Her sudden resignation comes as a shocker as the country heads for repeat Presidential elections on October 26.

Akombe said the election would not be credible and warned Kenyans to remember violence that followed a disputed 2007 poll when more than 1,200 people were killed.

The election is being held after the Supreme Court annulled the results of an August 8 vote due to "irregularities" and mismanagement by poll officials.

Odinga withdrew from the repeat poll last week, saying the election board had not carried out reforms demanded by the opposition. Not when Commissioners and staff are intimidated by political actors and protestors and fear for their lives.

After pulling out of the race, the country's opposition under Raila Odinga has changed its stance from "No reforms, no elections" to no elections entirely, planning a massive demonstration on October 26 - also Kenyatta's birthday - to disrupt the exercise.

Two MPs from Nyeri County have downplayed the exit of IEBC commissioner Roselyn Akombe saying that "it will have no impact" on the repeat presidential election slated for Thursday next week.

Akombe said she had agonized over whether to quit, but had made a decision to do so because the commission had "become a party to the crisis" and lives were potentially at stake.

The head of Kenya's election commission said Wednesday he could not guarantee next week's presidential election will be free and fair, citing interference from politicians and threats of violence against his colleagues.

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Dr Akombe sent the statement from NY, where she was based working for the United Nations before she took the job at the electoral commission.

Kenyatta on Wednesday restated his commitment to the poll, but Odinga called for a mass protest on election day - raising the prospect of confrontations between protesters and voters.

Election staff attending training sessions in some opposition strongholds were attacked this week, police said. At least four people have been killed during protests following the court ruling.

In an interview with the BBC, Akombe said she had received numerous threats while in Kenya and did "not feel safe enough to be able to go home".

More than 1,200 people were killed in violence after a disputed presidential election in December 2007. I do not want to be party to such a mockery to electoral integrity.

Political uncertainty has blunted Kenya's economy.

"We walk towards the declared date of the 26th of October both as a God-fearing leadership and government", he said in a televised speech.

President Kenyatta has yet to comment on Ms. Akombe's resignation or Mr. Chebukati's criticisms.

Other reports by Free-Prsite

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