Kenya vote in balance as crisis deepensafter Odinga quits
NAIROBI, - Kenya lurched deeper into political confusion yesterday as a court ruling and a parliamentary vote appeared to ease Uhuru Kenyatta’s path to a second term as president, a day after his chief rival quit an election they were to contest.
Kenyatta and Raila Odinga were due to face off in a repeat election on Oct. 26, after the Supreme Court annulled their August ballot - in which the president was declared the winner.
But Odinga pulled out of the re-run on Tuesday, fuelling doubts about whether it would be contested at all. Wednesday’s interventions by the judiciary and legislature added to the uncertainty.
As police used teargas to disperse opposition protesters demanding electoral reform, the High Court approved a petition by Ekuru Aukot, who polled less than 1 percent in the August vote, to contest the second ballot.
The election board later issued a statement saying that all eight candidates who competed in August would be on the ballot. It also said although Odinga had notified them of his withdrawal by letter, he had not yet submitted the official form to do so.
The developments suggested that the second election would go ahead, with Kenyatta the likely winner against a plethora of weaker candidates. No challenger except Odinga polled more than 1 percent.