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kenya elections rerun

Kenyan voters go to polls amid tight security in a re-run of the presidential election, which is being boycotted by the main opposition.

Riot police have clashed with opposition supporters, some of whom have been blocking access to polling stations.

President Uhuru Kenyatta was declared the winner in an August vote, but it is being held again over “irregularities”.

Uhuru Kenyatta is seeking a second term while opposition leader Raila Odinga has pulled out of the contest.

Uhuru Kenyatta – Image source Wikimedia

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On October 26, the polls opened at 06:00 with tens of thousands of police and other security staff deployed to protect voters and polling stations.

International observers have scaled down their missions for security reasons.

According to unconfirmed reports, police have fired live rounds into the air to disperse opposition supporters in the western city of Kisumu and the Kibera area of Nairobi. Tear gas has also been used.

After casting his vote in the town of Gatundu, Uhuru Kenyatta urged people to cast their ballots so the country could move on.

He said: “We’re tired as a country of electioneering. It’s time we moved forward.”

Uhuru Kenyatta also said most of Kenya was “calm and peaceful”.

Kenyan opposition leader Raila Odinga has decided to withdraw from October’s election re-run.

Raila Odinga said his decision would give the electoral commission enough time to introduce reforms that will help deliver a more credible election.

The Supreme Court annulled the result of the original August 8 poll, which saw Uhuru Kenyatta declared winner, after finding irregularities.

However, Uhuru Kenyatta says he is ready to proceed with the new vote as planned.

Kenya’s electoral commission said Uhuru Kenyatta had won the August vote by a margin of 1.4 million votes – or 54% of the total, compared to Raila Odinga’s 44%.

Image source Wikimedia

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VP William Ruto has now called on the commission to declare Uhuru Kenyatta president as a result of Raila Odinga’s announcement.

The election re-run was due to take place on October 26, but Raila Odinga said on October 10: “We have come to the conclusion that there is no intention on the part of the IEBC [electoral commission] to undertake any changes to its operations and personnel… All indications are that the election scheduled for 26 October will be worse than the previous one.”

As a result, Raila Odinga said, “considering the interests of the people of Kenya, the region and the world at large” it was best that he withdrew from the race.

His coalition party believes the election will have to be cancelled as a result of his withdrawal, allowing “adequate time to undertake the reforms necessary to conduct an election that is in strict conformity with the constitution, the relevant laws and the constitution”.

However, Uhuru Kenyatta, speaking at a rally in the southern town of Voi, said: “We have no problem going back to elections. We are sure we will get more votes than the last time.”