Odinga casts doubt on repeat presidential poll as observers appeal for calm

China Daily | Updated: 2017-10-30 07:45

NAIROBI, Kenya - Opposition leader Raila Odinga on Sunday called for a new presidential election, claiming that Thursday's repeat poll was invalid due to the low turnout.

In an interview with the Associated Press, he said that a new poll should be held within 90 days.

Odinga spoke after deadly clashes between police and opposition supporters in some parts of Kenya since the repeat election.

His call came after heads of international poll observer missions appealed for calm following the conclusion of the election that has deeply divided the East African nation.

In a joint statement, the heads of groups from the Commonwealth, EU, Africa Union and The Carter Center, among others, urged Kenyans to refrain from violence.

Odinga casts doubt on repeat presidential poll as observers appeal for calm

"We urge all Kenyans to refrain from unlawful acts and respect the rights of fellow citizens, including polling staff, independent observers and others who have a responsibility in the election process," the observers said.

The statement came amid violence across western Kenya and in some parts of Nairobi, where five people were killed and several others injured in anti-poll protests.

The electoral body has since suspended elections that were due to be held on Saturday in four western counties.

The observers noted the decision of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission to postpone polling in Homa Bay, Kisumu, Migori and Siaya counties, based on the electoral law, saying that all citizens have the right to vote or not to vote.

"We appreciate that the Constitution of Kenya guarantees the right to peaceful demonstration. Citizens have a responsibility to uphold the law whilst exercising their rights," they said.

The foreign missions called on security forces who have been battling protesters to provide protection to all citizens and avoid excessive use of force.

"We call for full accountability of the security agencies for all actions taken that result in injury and loss of life," said the observers.

The local poll observers said the just concluded presidential re-run has amplified divisions in the society and body politic.

Elections Observation Group Chair of the Steering Committee Regina Opondo told journalists in Nairobi that the repeat presidential polls was an extraordinary election process that was characterized by boycotts from large swathes of the country and a general low turnout in other areas.

AP - Xinhua

Odinga casts doubt on repeat presidential poll as observers appeal for calm

(China Daily 10/30/2017 page11)

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