Kenya’s deputy president says happy for election board to meet opposition demands

by Reuters 0

Kenya’s Deputy President William Ruto said on Tuesday there would be no problem if the election board agrees to meet a raft of demands made by the opposition ahead of a repeat presidential vote on Oct. 26.

The Supreme Court annulled an Aug. 8 vote at the start of September after opposition leader Raila Odinga challenged the re-election of President Uhuru Kenyatta.

Odinga has withdrawn from the repeat poll, saying the election board had failed to meet a list of conditions his coalition said would guarantee fairness. He has called for daily protests to force the reforms.

“If they (the election board) chose to have a discussion with our competitors with a view to firing this member of staff or firing that member of that staff or changing a supplier … so long as the elections are there, we will participate,” Ruto told reporters.

Ruto accused Odinga of trying to spark chaos through the protests in order to get a negotiated settlement, which Kenyatta’s side was not prepared to accept, he said.

Under the constitution, the repeat election must be held within 60 days of the Sept. 1 invalidation. The election board says it will to go ahead with the vote but Odinga’s withdrawal has caused concerns of a political crisis.

“It is a manufactured situation to achieve a political end and that is what we must resist,” he said.

Odinga was looking for a way out of the election after realizing he was not likely to win, Ruto said.

“They wanted a repeat election, they have a repeat election. They don’t want to participate. What do they want?” he said.

Reporting by Katharine Houreld; Writing by Duncan Miriri; Editing by Paul Tait