Kenya announced an October 17 date for new elections following a Monday meeting of the country’s Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) in Nairobi.
The new date follows last Friday’s 4-2 ruling by Kenya’s Supreme Court that annuls the results of the August 8 elections. The court set aside a victory for President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Jubilee party, who defeated Nasa coalition challenger Raila Odinga. The initial results showed Kenyatta receiving 8.2 million votes, or 54 percent, to Odinga’s 6.8 million.
Odinga filed a legal challenge after disputing the integrity of the electoral process and information systems. He repeatedly called the results a “computer-generated fraud,” and said that Kenyatta’s win was determined by an algorithm and not Kenyan voters, while alluding to the July murder of elections IT expert Chris Msando as being linked to a compromise of the data systems.
The IEBC announcement of the new election in October restricts eligibility to the existing two candidates. “There shall be no fresh nominations in the envisaged fresh election,” the IEBC said in a statement. Kenyatta and his running mate William Ruto, and Odinga with Stephen Musyoka, will be the only two vying for office. Six other candidates participated in the initial election, but when combined only accounted for roughly one percent of the vote.
Peace has prevailed in Kenya since the stunning election reversal on Friday, as the candidates have urged people to engage in the political process without the violence that has marred previous elections, notably in 2017. Some two dozen people died last month in clashes that broke out after Kenyatta was declared winner, and many observers remain cautious over the potential for new violence.