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Kenyan election board head not certain vote will be free and fair

Kenyan Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) chairman Wafula Chebukati addresses a news conference at the Bomas of Kenya, in Nairobi, Kenya October 18, 2017. REUTERS/Thomas Mukoya

The head of Kenya’s Election commission has said it will be “difficult” to guarantee that next week’s presidential election will be free and fair, citing divisions in the commission and interference from politicians.

Wafula Chebukati issued a stern warning to politicians, saying: “Ironically, the very people, political leaders, who are supposed to build the nations have become the greatest threat to the peace and stability of the nation.”

The Oct. 26 poll is the re-run of an election that took place in August, where incumbent president Uhuru Kenyatta’s victory was nullified on procedural grounds.

But the run-up to the new poll has been fraught, with Kenyatta’s main challenger, opposition leader Raila Odinga, pulling out, alleging a failure to improve the oversight of the election, and one election commissioner fleeing abroad and saying she feared for her life.

Kenyatta on Wednesday restated his commitment to the poll, but Odinga called for a mass protest on election day.

The head of the election board told a news conference that technical preparations for the new poll were on course, but that his attempts to make “critical changes”, notably to staff, had been defeated by a majority of commissioners. He also said he had come under pressure to resign.

“Under such conditions, it is difficult to guarantee a free fair and credible election,” he said.



This post first appeared on Chrisblend, please read the originial post: here

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Kenyan election board head not certain vote will be free and fair

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