Published: Thu, October 19, 2017
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

Kenya's top electoral officer flees ahead of rescheduled elections

Kenya's top electoral officer flees ahead of rescheduled elections

Akombe resigned Wednesday, Oct. 18, 2017 in a statement from NY saying the rerun of the presidential election scheduled for Oct. 26 can not be free and fair.

"We need the commission to be courageous and speak out, that this election as planned can not meet the basic expectations of a credible election", she said.

In September, the country's supreme court annulled presidential elections held in August because the polls were "neither transparent nor verifiable".

The opposition has demanded that some electoral officials in charge of the last poll should be replaced.

"Ironically, the very people, political leaders, who are supposed to build the nation have become the greatest threat to the peace and stability of the nation", Chebukati told journalists.

Opposition leader Raila Odinga had petitioned the court to overturn the result, claiming hackers infiltrated the commission servers and altered the results in favor of Kenyatta.

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Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) Chairperson Wafula Chebukat, addressing media in Nairobi, Kenya Wednesday, Oct. 18, 2017, on status of preparedness for the rerun of elections on Oct.26.

The head of Kenya's election commission says that despite "full technical preparedness" for this month's fresh presidential vote, it is "difficult to guarantee free, fair and credible elections".

Akombe had in a statement from NY stated that she had resigned in what she termed as the IEBC's failure to meet the basic expectations of a credible election.

However, the incumbent President Uhuru Kenyatta is undeterred by Akombe's decision to flee the country and has restated his commitment to the poll which will take place next week.

Election staff attending training sessions in some opposition strongholds were attacked this week, police said.

More than 1,200 people were killed in violence after a disputed presidential election in December 2007. "As the referee I want to issue a stern warning to the players of this game on all sides that they should stop all attempts to interfere with the process", said election commission chairman Wafula Chebukati.

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She added that she received anonymous death threats, and had been under pressure to resign.

Political uncertainty has blunted Kenya's economy.

A week before the August poll, the election commission's head of IT was found tortured and murdered in Nairobi, raising fears of a possible hack of the commission's computer systems.

The election board has said the poll will go ahead with seven candidates on the ballot, including Odinga.

"We walk towards the declared date of the 26th of October both as a God-fearing leadership and government", he said in a televised speech.

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