Kenya election commissioner quits ahead of repeat presidential vote

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Kenyan law requires the repeat election to be held within 60 days of nullification of the original vote.

Roselyn Akombe quit as a commissioner of Kenya's electoral board by issuing a statement from NY saying the rerun of the presidential election scheduled for October 26 can not be free and fair.

The re-run was ordered by the Supreme Court on September 1 after it nullified the August 8 re-election of President Uhuru Kenyatta, following a petition by opposition leader Raila Odinga.

Reasons for her resignation includes the commission not being able to carry out a credible poll on October 26 as well as the current political temperature. Roselyne Akombe said IEBC should have been frank with the Kenyan people and clearly state the challenges the commission faces in organising a free, fair, and credible election.

But the question is, what will happen next at the poll agency, now that one of the commissioners has resigned.

"It has become increasingly hard to continue attending plenary meetings where commissioners come ready to vote along partisan lines and not to discuss the merit of issues before them", Akombe said in a statement.

Soon after news broke that Akombe had quit, Chebukati, as reported by Zipo.co.ke, said the resignation of Akombe would not affect operations at the IEBC, and that the forthcoming repeat presidential election would proceed as planned. Not when the staff are getting last minute instructions on changes in technology and electronic transmission of results.

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She condemned Tuesday attack on IEBC staff in Mumias, Bungoma, Homabay, Siaya, and Kisumu.

The IEBC commissioner said some of IEBC commissioners were keen to have an election even if it is at the cost of the lives of their staff and voters at large.

"We need the commission to be courageous and speak out that this election as planned can not meet the basic expectations of a credible election".

She said the election panel and its staff were also being "intimidated by political actors".

Odinga last week announced he was withdrawing from the race, arguing the move would legally force the IEBC to begin the whole process from scratch, which would allow more time for deep reforms.

Odinga has called daily demonstrations to protest against the election body.

After the Aug 8 vote, veteran opposition leader Raila Odinga quickly cried foul over the counting process, accusing election officials of rigging the vote in favour of President Uhuru Kenyatta.

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