Kenya election thrown into turmoil as top opposition candidate withdraws

President Uhuru Raila Engage Each other on Twitter

Speaking at a public rally in Voi town, Taita Taveta County moments after the NASA Principals announced their decision to withdraw from the race President Kenyatta said Kenyans are more than ready to exercise their democratic right of choosing their leader.

While Kenyans voted peacefully on August 8, the opposition quickly cried foul over tallying and the Supreme Court agreed, citing "disturbing, if not startling, revelations" about the conduct of the IEBC.

Prior to the annulment, incumbent president Uhuru Kenyatta had been declared victor of the election.

Kenya's Supreme Court later annulled the elections after Odinga filed a petition in court.

Mr Odinga said his withdrawal would give the electoral commission enough time to introduce reforms that will help deliver a more credible election. "All indications are that the election scheduled for 26 October will be worse than the previous one", Odinga told a press conference in Nairobi.

The election which saw the announcement of incumbent Uhuru Kenyatta as victor, was annulled by the supreme court and has been re-scheduled for October 26.

The 25-item document included a comprehensive audit of elections-related technology, a change of the company that printed the ballot forms, and the replacement of all 290 elections officers.

He said the key part of the proposed law stipulates that if a candidate boycotts an election whose date has already been set, the remaining candidate would win the contest without formal polls being held.

This issue, he said, was touched "in passing" by the Supreme Court in 2013.

It said while the United States did not back any party or candidate, it fully supports the work of an election board.

Kenyatta is yet to respond to Odinga's announcement.

NASA has repeatedly called for reforms to be made to the country's Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) due to "irregularities and illegalities" in the first vote.

On Tuesday, Odinga said the electoral agency had squandered an opportunity to undertake institutional and personnel changes in consultation with major players in the repeat presidential race.

The commission will thereafter communicate the way forward. It also tweeted a letter it sent on Tuesday to Odinga's opposition coalition saying that "we have taken the necessary steps to guarantee the integrity of the fresh presidential elections".

Kenyatta expressed confidence that Kenyans will rally behind him as they did in the August 8 general election.

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