Kenya’s presidential election re-run rescheduled

The re-run was to take place on 17 October, but a French firm whose technology is being used for the polls said it would not be ready in time for that date.

FILE: Kenya's Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission officials make a sweep of electoral material 7 August 2017 at a holding centre in Kagio. Picture: AFP.

NAIROBI - Kenya’s presidential re-run has been rescheduled for 26 October, the election board said on Twitter on Thursday, a day after a detailed Supreme Court judgment laid out the reasons why the court had nullified last month’s poll.

The election board had originally said the re-run would take place on 17 October, but a French firm whose technology is being used for the polls said it would not be ready in time for that date.

In August, Kenya’s Supreme Court nullified President Uhuru Kenyatta’s election win, citing irregularities, and ordered a new poll within 60 days, an unprecedented move in Africa where governments often hold sway over judges.

A row over a 2007 poll, which veteran opponent Raila Odinga challenged after being declared loser, was followed by weeks of ethnic bloodshed that killed more than 1,200 people. Kenya’s economy, the biggest in the region, slid into recession and neighbouring economies wobbled.

DEMOCRATIC CREDENTIALS

In a nation of more than 40 ethnic groups, tribal loyalties often trump policy at election time. Kenyatta’s Kikuyu is the biggest of Kenya’s tribes but still a minority. Odinga is a Luo.

Odinga’s strongholds include his ethnic heartland in the west; the coast, where many of the nation’s Muslims live; and the urban slums. Residents of all three areas feel neglected by central government.

Kenyatta, whose Kikuyu tribe has produced three out of Kenya’s four presidents, has his main support base in the central region.

Kenyatta and Odinga are both scions of political families. Kenyatta’s father, Jomo Kenyatta, was the nation’s founding president and had a long-running rivalry with Odinga’s father. Oginga Odinga was originally Kenyatta’s deputy but eventually left the government to unsuccessfully contest the presidency.

Raila Odinga has contested the last three elections and lost each time. After each one, he claimed the votes were marred by rigging. In 2013, the Supreme Court dismissed his petition.

WATCH: Kenyan Supreme Court annuls poll results