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Kenya: Three Move to Supreme Court to Block Presidential Election Repeat

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Three ‘concerned voters’ moved to Kenyan Supreme Court Tuesday seeking to stop the Thursday repeat presidential poll.

Khalef Khalifa, Samuel Mohochi and Gacheke Gachuhi claim the electoral commission is divided and cannot guarantee a fair and credible poll.

They said Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission is serving partisan interests and Chairman Wafula Chebukati has publicly admitted that he cannot guarantee credible election.

They also want the court to interpret the meaning of Raila Odinga’s withdrawal from the election.

East Africa’s biggest economy is rerunning its presidential election this week after the Supreme Court nullified Kenyatta’s Aug. 8 win, saying the vote failed to meet constitutional standards.

Western envoys urged the agency on Monday to seek an extension to the election timetable from the Supreme Court if it’s not ready to hold the vote this week. The suggestion was made by U.S. Ambassador Bob Godec and backed by 19 other foreign diplomatic missions in Kenya.

“We are interested in a credible election, not quick fixes,” Godec told reporters in the capital, Nairobi. “The IEBC, or any citizen, should be free to request an extension beyond the 60 days. It’s a question for the IEBC whether or not the election takes place on the 26th.”

The missions said they also prefer that the opposition participates in the repeat election after winning a “historic decision” when the Supreme Court ruled in its favor and declared the initial vote was marred by illegalities and irregularities. Odinga’s National Super Alliance has said there’ll be no elections without significant staff and electoral procedure changes at the IEBC.

Chebukari and former IEBC Commissioner Roselyn Akombe have “raised serious concerns that deserve attention and require action,” the missions said. Akombe quit last week and fled to the U.S., saying the vote won’t be credible. Chebukati said he couldn’t guarantee a fair poll while staff members who were implicated in the botched ballot still in office.

Akombe’s resignation and Chebukati’s warning should enable the body to seek an extension of 30 to 45 days without violating the constitution, the International Crisis Group said, warning of a high risk of deadly clashes between Kenyatta’s and Odinga’s supporters, or between security forces and groups seeking to block the vote.

“Proceeding under current conditions would deepen Kenya’s ethnic cleavages and prolong a stalemate that has already claimed dozens of lives and come at a high economic cost,” the Brussels-based advocacy group said in an emailed statement to Bloomberg yesterday

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