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Many bumps on the road to October 17 election

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Kenyans will troop back to the ballot to elect the next President on October 17 following the nullification of President Uhuru Kenyatta’s win in the August 8 electoral contest.

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) chairman Wafula Chebukati, who announced the decision after a plenary, also revealed that only Uhuru and his main rival Raila Odinga, who filed the petition, will be on the ballot.

“There shall be no fresh nominations in the envisaged fresh election. In the fresh election, the petitioners before the Supreme Court, the Hon Raila Odinga and his running mate Hon Stephen Kalonzo Musyoka and the 3rd respondent H.E Uhuru Kenyatta and his running mate Hon William Samoei Ruto, shall be the only candidates,” declared Chebukati.

The move came only hours after Education Cabinet Secretary Dr Fred Matiang’i revealed he had written to the electoral body asking it to conduct the fresh presidential election by October 17 so as not to interfere with the conduct of national examinations, which commence on October 31 with those taking some practical subjects beginning a week earlier (October 23).

With the announcement, all eyes will be on the IEBC, which was heavily criticised by four Supreme Court judges led by Chief Justice David Maraga over the manner it conducted last month’s presidential election.

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Chebukati, while reacting to the ruling had said the commission will undertake changes within the secretariat as well as is revising the operational and procedural requirements for the fresh elections.

In doing so, he appeared to be passing the buck to the Ezra Chiloba-led team of directors, whom he said had remained in office despite the ouster of the previous commissioners led by Isaack Hassan.

Yesterday, Chebukati once again called for a detailed judgement from the Supreme Court to enable the commission correct where they did mistakes.

“In light of the Supreme Court judgment, it is imperative that a detailed judgment in the just concluded petition is released in order to allow the Commission identifies areas that require improvement in the management of the fresh election,” said Chebukati.

The Opposition Nasa has demanded for changes within the Commission, saying though they have no problem with Chebukati, it does not trust the secretariat.

“Then journey to Canaan is inevitable and now we journey on. However, the commission must be cleaned before we conduct a new election,” said Raila after the Supreme Court ruling.

Apart from Chiloba, Raila also wants IEBC commissioner in charge of ICT Prof Abdi Yakub Guliye, deputy CEO (Operations) Beatrice Nyabuto, Director of Legal Affairs Praxedes TororeiDirector of Voter Registration and Election Operations Immaculate Kasait and ICT Director James Muhati removed before the fresh election.

However, the Jubilee Party led by President Uhuru and his deputy William Ruto have declared that the IEBC as presently constituted is going nowhere, saying demands for its restructuring is an indication that Nasa is not prepared for the fresh election.

ALSO SEE: Carry your own cross, Chebukati tells IEBC officials

While Raila wants a bipartisan process to effect the changes, it is likely to meet stiff resistance from Jubilee, which enjoys an overwhelming parliamentary majority. It remains to be seen whether Nasa will change tact.

Nasa is also demanding for a fresh tender for the printing of ballot papers. And though the Supreme Court in its 2013 ruling asserted itself on what a fresh election means and who is eligible to take part, presidential aspirant Ekuru Aukot has warned that he would move to court to challenge the decision to lock them out of the rerun.

He says the Supreme Court was clear that the August 8 election breached the Constitution and the law and that Uhuru’s win was “invalid, null and void.”

The IEBC had until November 1 to conduct the fresh election. However, campaigns had already kicked off in earnest with both formations moving to their strongholds to recharge supporters. Tuesday, Nasa will be heading to Kisii and Nyamira where Uhuru nearly upset Raila last month.

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FRANCIS MULI
FRANCIS MULIhttp://www.businesstoday.co.ke
Editor and writer, Francis Muli has a passion for human interest stories. He holds a BSc in Communication and Journalism from Moi University and has worked for various organisations including Kenya Television Service. Email:[email protected]
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