Nairobi, Kenya – Kenyan opposition leader Raila Odinga says he will not recognise a win by President Uhuru Kenyatta on Thursday’s scheduled election rerun, as a political crisis gripping the East African country shows no sign of ending.
Odinga pulled out of the race earlier this month after claiming opposition demands to overhaul the country’s election body had not been met.
“As far as we are concerned, this is not an election,” Odinga told the Nation newspaper on Sunday.
He also ruled out contesting the outcome of the vote in court, in line with his party’s position that the upcoming vote will not be credible.
“It is not a legal matter, but a political one which must be dealt with as such,” said Odinga, calling the prospect of challenging the result “a waste of time”.
Kenya is holding the election re-run after the country’s Supreme Court annulled the results of an August 8 poll, following a challenge by Odinga, due to “irregularities” and “illegalities” in the electoral process.
Kenyatta had been declared the winner of that vote.
John Githongo, the country’s former anti-corruption chief, said he was not surprised by Odinga’s stance.
“It is expected,” he told Al Jazeera.
“All it does is complicate things further, and Thursday’s election will not be credible and will only result in creating further obstacles,” added Githongo.
“Elections are meant to be about nation-building but this won’t be. Unfortunately, the country will not move forward.”
‘Ego dreams of one man’
Hours earlier, Kenyatta, the son of the country’s founding father, had accused Odinga of keeping millions of Kenyans in suspense.
“Kenya is not about satisfying the ego or dreams of one man (Odinga),” he told a campaign rally in Kajiado county.
“Kenyans are tired and will not allow to be put in a perpetual electioneering mode,” Kenyatta added, dismissing opposition calls that Thursday’s vote should be postponed.
The latest developments come less than a week after the resignation of a senior electoral official who fled to the United States and alleged that her staff had become the target of intimidation and threats.
Speaking from New York, Roseyln Akombe – a former commissioner at the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) – said on Tuesday that the body was “partisan” and part of the political crisis facing the country.
“The commission in its current state can surely not guarantee a credible election on 26 October 2017. I do not want to be party to such a mockery to electoral integrity,” said Akombe.
A day after Akombe’s resignation, IEBC chief Ezra Chiloba took three weeks of leave. The opposition had previously demanded Chiloba quit.
Kenya has witnessed weeks of streets protests leading to the deaths of several opposition supporters. Odinga on Tuesday called off the daily demonstrations following the killings of some of his followers.
At least four people were killed during demonstrations on Friday, according to police.