KENYA: Court Rules to Have All 8 Previous Presidential Candidates on Ballot

Thirdway Alliance presidential candidate Ekuru Aukot, lawyer Elias Mutuma and running mate Emmanuel Nzai celebrate after the High Court ruling

All the eight candidates that contested in the Kenyan Presidential elections two months ago will be included on the ballot during the forthcoming repeat polls later this month. This was revealed on Wednesday by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC).

The announcement comes a day after National Super Alliance (NASA) opposition candidate Raila Odinga who was slated to face off with incumbent President Uhuru Kenyatta suddenly withdrew from the race. Odinga said the electoral body was showing no interest in implementing the electoral reforms demanded by NASA.

In a High Court ruling on Wednesday, Justice John Mativo in a petition filed earlier by former candidate Ekuru Aukot, he (Justice Mativo) ruled Aukot and all the other candidates who participated in the August 8 general elections were entitled to participate as candidates in the repeat race.

Justice Mativo in his ruling stated that whereas the law provided for “fresh elections”, it doesn’t elaborate whether this implies that there should be fresh nominations for candidates. The same law provides that fresh polls would be organized within a period of 60 days which to him is not adequate to carry out new nominations of candidates and also conduct polls.

“It is therefore the Commission’s position that the candidates for the fresh Presidential election scheduled for the 26th of October 2017 shall include all the candidates who participated in the 8th August 2017 Presidential election,” IEBC wrote in a statement released on Wednesday.

However, the electoral body clarified that in the event that any of these candidates was not willing to participate, it (IEBC) can not compel them to do so.

“The law allows a candidate to withdraw his/her candidature by delivering to the Commission a duly filled Form 24A. This Form is provided for by the Elections (General) Regulations.”

Meanwhile, IEBC has confirmed that Raila Odinga and his running mate Kalonzo Musyoka sent a letter to IEBC indicating that they had decided to withdraw from the October 26 polls. However, Odinga did not submit the statutory Form 24A which implies that he hasn’t fully withdrawn.

Kenyatta maintains that he and his Jubilee Party are ready for the repeat election and are assured of Kenyans’ support. He said the election needed to be done with to allow Kenyans “to move on”.

IEBC urged Kenyans to remain calm and dialogue to ensure that elections are successfully held and for the country to move forward.

The political atmosphere remains uncertain with pockets of violent protests that broke out in the wake of Odinga’s withdrawal.

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