KENYAN opposition leader Raila Odinga vowed yesterday that his party will become a “resistance movement” as he urged supporters to boycott today’s presidential election rerun.
Mr Odinga made his comments after Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) chairman Wafula Chebukati said the repeat of last month’s annulled election would go ahead — even though he had admitted last week that he could not guarantee its integrity.
Earlier in the day, the Supreme Court failed to grant a petition by Mr Odinga’s Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) seeking to have the election postponed, as the necessary quorum of judges was not present.
The same court annulled Jubilee Alliance incumbent Uhuru Kenyatta’s win in last month’s election by a vote of four to two following allegations of ballot-rigging.
Yesterday’s petition argued that insufficient steps had been taken by the IEBC to prevent a repeat of the fraud. Mr Odinga withdrew from the new election in protest two weeks ago.
Mr Odinga’s lawyer James Orengo said dirty tricks by Mr Kenyatta and violent intimidation of the deputy chief justice were to blame.
He claimed that when the president called public holidays for yesterday and today, this was a bid to prevent the courts from sitting — even though Chief Justice David Maraga ordered them to hear election petitions during this time.
Then on Tuesday evening, Deputy Chief Justice Philomena Mwilu’s police driver was shot and seriously wounded by unidentified assailants just after he had dropped her at her home.
Mr Orengo said the two judges who voted against the election annulment did not attend the hearing, leaving only two others present.
Earlier, High Court Judge George Odunga ruled that the IEBC had not followed the law when appointing constituency returning officers and their deputies.
But Mr Chebukati disputed the implications of the ruling, insisting that the vote would proceed.
And he said the Independent Police Oversight Authority had assured him that officers who used excessive force against demonstrators would face action.
At least 67 people have been killed in protests since the first election.
Mr Kenyatta is the son of Kenya’s first president, pro-Western Jomo Kenyatta, while Mr Odinga’s father was the first vice-president, Soviet-friendly Oginga Odinga.