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Kenya to Hold New Presidential Vote Next Month

2017-9-6

Kenya’s electoral commission said Monday that the country will hold a new presidential election on October 17.

Kenya’s Supreme Court announced last Friday it was dismissing the results of the August 8 presidential election.

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) said in its announcement that current President Uhuru Kenyatta and opposition leader Raila Odinga will be the only people on the ballot for next month’s vote, along with each candidate’s running mate.

Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta flanked by his deputy, William Ruto, addresses the nation at State House in Nairobi, Kenya, Sept. 1, 2017.
Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta flanked by his deputy, William Ruto, addresses the nation at State House in Nairobi, Kenya, Sept. 1, 2017.

The IEBC has asked the Supreme Court to release a detailed ruling of its decision to dismiss the election results. They said they need such information to identify which areas need improvement for managing the new election.

In last month’s election, President Kenyatta was declared the winner. He was said to have beaten Odinga by 1.4 million votes. Odinga and his opposition party, NASA, rejected the results and appealed to the Supreme Court for a new election.

Odinga and his party also said Tuesday that they would prefer the new election take place on October 24 or 31. They say there needs to be enough time to fix problems with the IEBC.

"We are saying that we are not ready to participate in elections on the 17th of October without legal and constitutional guarantees because you cannot do a mistake twice and expect to get different results," Odinga said.

Odinga also said he believes “a number” of electoral officials should be removed from their positions or arrested. They should not be permitted to take part in another round of elections, he said.

"As far as we are concerned, it is not the date, the day," said Odinga. "It is the preparations for these elections which is more important for us, that there must be proper preparations. It must deal with all irregularities which were committed....beginning with the people who committed them, and also rectifying those irregularities."

An IEBC official told VOA they would provide a response soon.

The Supreme Court said in its ruling Friday that the electoral commission was responsible for "irregularities and illegalities" in the managing and communication of results during the first election.

However, the Court did not order specific action for electoral officials.

Chief Justice David Maraga told the electoral commission that, under the constitution, it had 60 days from the ruling to organize a new vote.

The full judgment of the court must be released within 21 days of the ruling.

I’m Phil Dierking.

This story was originally written by Jill Craig for VOANews. Phil Dierking adapted it for Learning English using other media. Ashley Thompson was the editor.

Do you think Kenya should have a new election? We want to hear from you. Write to us in the Comments Section or on 51VOA.COM.

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Words in This Story

rectify - v. to correct (something that is wrong)

specific - adj. special or particular

running mate - n. the person who runs with someone in an election (such as an election to choose a new president) and who is given the less important position (such as vice president) if they are elected