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UN sidesteps Raila vote review request

NASA presidential candidate Raila Odinga. FILE PHOTO | NMG
NASA presidential candidate Raila Odinga. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

A United Nations spokesman declined on Monday to accept Raila Odinga’s request for a UN review of the August 8 election results.

Spokesman Farhan Haq reiterated Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’ recent statement urging Kenyan political leaders to bring election-related disputes to “the relevant constitutionally mandated institutions.”

That formulation suggests that the UN is unlikely to carry out the election analysis Mr Odinga proposed in an interview last week with London’s Financial Times.

Mr Haq added at a press briefing that the UN will monitor Mr Odinga’s expected remarks planned for Tuesday but pushed to Wednesday.

The Washington Post meanwhile added its voice to the chorus of commentators hailing the election as free and fair. “If local and international observers are right,” the Post said in an editorial on Monday, “Kenya has just staged one of the fairest and most transparent elections in its history, as well as in the recent history of Africa.”

The country has nevertheless “been teetering on the brink of crisis,” the newspaper added, “largely because Mr Kenyatta’s opponent, Raila Odinga, refuses to accept the results or even the established legal process for challenging them.”

“Instead, Mr Odinga has been leveling charges of fraud without offering any evidence to support them.” The Post criticised the opposition’s response but also urged President Kenyatta to stop the excesses of the police and apparent pressure being applied to media and the NGOs.

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