Kenya opposition leader refuses to share power

Nairobi – Kenya’s opposition leader Raila Odinga said on Sunday he will not share power, speaking days after the Supreme Court’s decision to annul President Uhuru Kenyatta’s re-election and order a fresh presidential election in 60 days.

Odinga, speaking at a church service in Nairobi Sunday, said his party cannot accept to share power with “thieves.”

President Uhuru Kenyatta similarly ruled out sharing power when addressing elected members of county assemblies from his Jubilee Party on Saturday.

Odinga, 72, was named Prime Minister and Kenyatta his deputy in a coalition government in 2008 February following the disputed presidential election of December 27, 2007. More than 1 000 people died and 600 000 were evicted from their homes in post-election violence that erupted from that election.

The Supreme Court nullified Kenyatta’s win announced by the electoral commission on Aug 11. The court voted 4-2 to nullify Kenyatta’s election saying they found the electoral commission had performed irregularities and illegalities in adding up the presidential vote.

New hope

Odinga said the electoral commission as currently constituted should not be permitted to conduct the fresh election saying it was complicit in electoral fraud.

Kenyatta, however, has said the electoral commission should not be interfered with and warned the court against taking action on the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission. Since the Supreme Court ruling Kenyatta has said Chief Justice David Magara and the judiciary are “crooks” and alleged they are on the payroll of donors. Kenyatta said he will fix the judiciary once he wins the coming elections because it ruled against him.

The move to nullify Kenya’s election was unprecedented on the African continent. It gave new hope to opposition leader Odinga, who had alleged the electronic results of the August 8 balloting were manipulated. He had lost by about 1.4 million votes out of roughly 15 million ballots cast.

Odinga, a longtime opposition candidate and the son of Kenya’s first vice president, had unsuccessfully challenged the results of the 2013 vote that Kenyatta won. This time Odinga’s supporters at first had said they would not go to court but filed a petition two weeks ago.

Kenya had been braced for protests before the ruling, with police deployed to sensitive areas of the capital, Nairobi, and streets near the court were barricaded. Human rights groups have said that police killed at least 24 people in unrest after the election.

Kenyatta, 55, the son of Jomo Kenyatta, Kenya’s first president, is trying to avoid becoming the first Kenyan president not to win re-election.

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