Envoys support repeat election on Thursday

Foreign envoys have said the repeat presidential election should go on as scheduled despite preparation concerns raised by the Opposition and some top Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) managers.

The envoys said the IEBC staff should be provided with security to conduct polls in accordance with the Constitution and within the Supreme Court’s timeframe.  

The court nullified President Uhuru Kenyatta’s win on September 1 and ordered the IEBC to conduct “free and fair” polls within 60 days, a period with closes on October 31. The electoral agency has since settled on October 26 as the date for repeat poll.

Both IEBC chairman Wafula Chebukati and Roselyn Akombe, who resigned last week, have said the agency cannot guarantee the integrity of the Thursday election because of political interference.

“Issues raised by Mr Chebukati and Ms Akombe are serious but have to be resolved within the IEBC,” said US Ambassador Robert Godec who spoke on behalf of the team.

“The planned election must be conducted in accordance with the Constitution and Supreme Court order.”

The envoys made the statements in Nairobi hours after their morning meeting with the Opposition — the National Super Alliance (Nasa) leaders — failed to agree on the way out of the current political stalemate.

READ: Supreme Court says IEBC failures led to poll nullification

At the meeting, Nasa leaders stuck to their position that the IEBC was not ready to conduct a free, fair and credible election.

“We made it clear that if the electoral commission itself is not confident of conducting credible polls, it follows that the said elections can only be sham elections that Nasa shall not be part of,” the Opposition later said in a statement to the newsrooms. 

“Nasa wishes to reaffirm that the election scheduled for 26th does not meet the conditions deduced from the Supreme Court ruling and our subsequent irreducible minimums.”

In their joint statement, the envoys asked President Kenyatta not to sign the Election Laws (Amendments) Bill 2017 which Parliament passed early this month, saying it could undermine the integrity of the poll. They also asked the Opposition to ensure it doesn’t use its street demonstrations to disrupt voting.