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Chebukati hints at postponing poll in volatile areas as Raila launches ‘resistance’

Nasa leaders from left: Musalia Mudavadi, Raila Odinga and Moses Wetangula at Uhuru Park on October 25, 2017 where they called on their supporters not to participate in tomorrow's election. Photo | Jeff Angote | Nairobi
Nasa leaders from left: Musalia Mudavadi, Raila Odinga and Moses Wetangula at Uhuru Park on October 25, 2017 where they called on their supporters not to participate in Thursday's election. Photo | Jeff Angote | Nairobi 

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) has indicated plans to postpone elections in Opposition strongholds in yet another move that could undermine the repeat presidential poll.

Chairman Wafula Chebukati said polling officials will assess the situation and use their discretion to determine whether the circumstances favour a poll that will be considered free and fair. “The elections as scheduled will go on tomorrow,” Wafula Chebukati told journalists.

“We have made adequate preparations and received assurance from the Inspector General of Police... but in cases where there will be problems (delivering materials)... the polling officer will have the right to inform us and polling can be suspended to another day,” added Mr Chebukati.

Opposition leader Raila Odinga has called on his supporters to boycott Thursday’s repeat vote, because he said the election board’s failure to institute reforms means it will be neither free nor fair.

On Wednesday, Mr Odinga called on his loyalists to boycott the vote and hold prayers away from polling stations, saying his opposition movement would be transformed into a resistance movement against the government.

Mr Odinga had initially urged his supporters to ensure there would be “no election”. The Opposition strongholds have been rocked by protests since the Supreme Court annulled the election results on September 1.

On Wednesday, various attempts to delay the polls flopped in the courts. 

A quorum hitch hit the Supreme Court, Harun Mwau’s case was thrown out by the High Court citing lack of jurisdiction while Justice George Odunga upheld a case challenging the legality of recent appointment of poll officials by the IEBC but did not quash the Kenya Gazette notice.

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