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Kenya's IEBC calls off postponed election in four protesting counties

Kenya's IEBC calls off postponed election in four protesting counties

Kenya

Kenya’s electoral commission has called off voting in four counties scheduled to vote on Saturday due to insecurities in the opposition strongholds.

The 3,635 polling stations in the four counties including Migori, Siaya, Kisumu and Homa Bay will vote on a date yet to be announced, said the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) Chairman Wafula Chebukati.

The counties including Migori, Siaya, Kisumu and Homa Bay failed to vote on October 26 due to the same reasons of insecurity caused by protesters engaging in running battles with the security forces.

“When it comes to our staff – the returning officers, polling staff – when their lives are in danger, as a commission we are deeply concerned.

The commission has deliberated on various incidents happening in some parts of the country, and has postponed the election scheduled to take place tomorrow (Saturday) to a further date to be announced.

“And because of all these factors, the commission has deliberated on various incidents happening in some parts of the country, and has postponed the election scheduled to take place tomorrow (Saturday) to a further date to be announced,” he added.

The announcement follows calls by the opposition National Super Alliance (NASA) party and the Seventh Day Adventist Church (SDA) for Saturday’s election to be postponed for different reasons.

NASA led by Raila Odinga who has boycotted the repeat polls says the repeat polls in their stronghold risks provoking further violence and should be cancelled.

For the SDA, Saturday’s election is an infringement on their freedom of worship. The clerics led by the President of SDA West Kenya Union Conference, Kenneth Maena, had earlier petitioned the IEBC to consider their request.

Thursday’s election was met by violence and running battles with the police leaving three people dead and several others wounded.

The rerun follows the August 8 presidential election which was annulled by the Supreme Court citing irregularities after a case was filed by the opposition National Super Alliance (NASA) party led by Raila Odinga.

The opposition failed to convince the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) to postpone the repeat election beyond the prescribed 60 days after calling for the sack of elections officials.

Despite series of protests and casualties recorded following repression by the police, the IEBC maintained its stance on the election date resulting in the withdrawal of Odinga from the polls.

The electoral commission said after the polls on Thursday that 6.55 million ballots had been cast, representing 34.5 percent of registered voters – a low turnout due to the opposition boycott.

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