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Kenya deploys military in tense poll re-run

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta (pictured) says security forces are deployed nationwide to ensure order during Thursday’s election.

In a televised address on Wednesday, Kenyatta urged Kenyans to vote but he also said the rights of those who don’t want to vote are protected under the law.

Opposition leader Raila Odinga has urged followers to boycott the election, saying it won’t be credible.

Kenyatta says the election offers Kenyans an opportunity to “show the world” that their nation is united. He says he wants people to go home after they vote and that nobody should break the law.

Kenyan opposition leader Raila Odinga is vowing to turn his political coalition into a “resistance movement” and urged supporters to boycott Thursday’s repeat presidential election.

Election officials say the vote will go ahead even after the electoral commission chairperson last week said he could not guarantee it would be credible.

Odinga’s legal challenge led the Supreme Court to nullify the August election over irregularities and order a new one.

Odinga later shocked Kenyans by withdrawing from the new vote, saying electoral reforms have not been made.

Kenya’s electoral commission chairperson Wafula Chebukati has said repeat presidential elections are going ahead on Thursday claiming a high court decision earlier in the day found no illegality in the process of selecting poll officials at the constituency level and he got assurances from the police and the president over security fears.

Chebukati said the Independent Police Oversight Authority had assured him of action against police officers who brutalised peaceful demonstrators.

Human rights groups have accused President Uhuru Kenyatta of using the police to crush opposition demonstrations calling for reforms at the electoral commission and protesting the results of the August presidential election.

At least 67 people were killed in demonstrations following the announcement that Kenyatta had won a second term in office.

Chebukati denied that an earlier ruling by High Court Judge George Odunga found process of selecting electoral officials to run the Thursday polls at the constituency level was illegal.

Last month the Supreme Court nullified President Uhuru Kenyatta’s August re-election, citing irregularities and illegalities in the vote. Opposition leader Raila Odinga is boycotting the repeat elections, saying the electoral commission has not implemented adequate reforms to guarantee credible elections.

AP

Gary Murambiwa
the authorGary Murambiwa

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