Kenya opposition leader withdraws candidacy


Kenyans on Twitter had a lot to say after Nasa presidential candidate Raila Odinga withdrew his candidature in the October 26 repeat presidential election.

The NASA leader announced he will no longer participate in the October 26 election as ordered by the Supreme Court.

His party, the National Super Alliance (NASA), had vowed not to take part in the poll re-run unless the election commission was reformed.

Nasa is taking that Supreme Court interpretation as the launch-pad for its contention that a new election must be conducted starting from nominations of candidates. Justices said that by failing to allow the investigation of the computers the commission failed to disprove Odinga's claim that hackers infiltrated the servers and altered the vote in favor of Kenyatta.

Based on the Supreme Court's decision, Kenyatta can not run alone on the ballot or be sworn in automatically, said Ndungu Wainaina, executive director of the International Center for Policy and Conflict.

In the run-up to the reelection, there were attempts by Kenyatta's Jubilee Party, which has a majority in parliament, to reform electoral laws and the IEBC, but the opposition dismissed the efforts as insincere.

A police crackdown during three days of protests following the 8 August polls killed at least 37 people, the government-backed Kenya National Commission on Human Rights said in a report released on Monday.

Kenyatta said the election will go ahead, telling supporters that "there is nowhere the constitution says Raila Amollo Odinga has to be on the ballot".

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The original August 8 elections, the National Super Alliance had charged soon after the results were announced in favor of President Uhuru Kenyatta, was marred with technical irregularities and hacking.

He believes Mr. Odinga should have used the constitutional channel to get the reforms he wanted and not to play to the gallery.

While the beleaguered IEBC has said it has tried to reform its procedures, this has not been enough to placate the opposition, which demanded the firing of top officials and the contracting of new companies to print tallying forms and run the vote counting technology.

Kenya introduced electronic transmission of results in the 2013 elections to curb rigging after the flawed polls of 2007 sparked off ethnic violence that left more than 1,000 people dead and 600,000 evicted from their homes.

The opposition called for a mass rally in Nairobi on Wednesday.

"All indications are that the election scheduled for 26 October will be worse than the previous one", Odinga said.

His announcement left Kenyans consumed by confusion.