NAIROBI: A top Kenyan electoral official resigned Wednesday, charging the presidential vote just eight days away cannot be credible as planned.
Roselyn Akombe quit as a commissioner of Kenya’s electoral board by issuing a statement from New York saying the rerun of the presidential election scheduled for Oct. 26 cannot be free and fair.
“This election as planned cannot meet the basic expectations of a credible election,” said Akombe.“Not when the staff are getting last minute instructions on changes in technology and electronic transmission of results. Not when in parts of country, the training of presiding officers is being rushed for fear of attacks from protesters,” she said.
“We need the commission to be courageous and speak out,” said Akombe.
Kenya’s Supreme Court nullified President Uhuru Kenyatta’s August re-election, citing illegalities and irregularities, and ordered a fresh election, which will be held next week.
Opposition leader Raila Odinga had urged the court to overturn Kenyatta’s victory, claiming the electoral commission’s computer system had been tampered with to produce false results.
Odinga has withdrawn from the fresh poll, saying the electoral commission has not made sufficient changes, such as new members or new procedures, to guarantee a fair election. Akombe’s resignation and criticism of the electoral board is another blow to the credibility of the new polls.
Odinga on Tuesday suspended protests intended to press for reforms to Kenya’s electoral commission, citing the killings of his supporters by police.
Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch reported that 67 opposition supporters have been killed in protests since the Aug. 11 announcement that President Uhuru Kenyatta had been re-elected in the first election.