Raila has choice to stay away or take part in poll: IEBC

It is up to Nasa leader Raila Odinga to choose whether to participate in next Thursday’s repeat presidential election or not, the polls agency has said.

Dr Roselyn Akombe, a member of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), said it is a personal decision for any candidate to participate or pull out of an election.

“The issue about Mr Odinga’s withdrawal from the repeat poll cannot be solved by the electoral commission,” she said.

“It would be impossible for us to solve the political mess created by the politicians. We can only offer technical solutions and not political ones.”

She added that the withdrawal from the race is “purely a political issue” that can only be solved by politicians.

Dr Akombe urged the politicians to engage in dialogue in solving the political stalemate, instead of dragging the name of the IEBC into their issues.

She spoke on Sunday at a hotel in Bondo town after assessing the progress of the ongoing training of IEBC staff ahead of the repeat poll.

At the same time, a local poll observation group has asked the IEBC to seek the Supreme Court’s interpretation of Mr Odinga’s withdrawal from the presidential race.

The Elections Observation Group (Elog) said the IEBC should take the first step in clearing uncertainties after Mr Odinga pulled out of the election and demanded a new election 90 days after fresh nominations.

At the same time, the group wants the IEBC to ask the Supreme Court to give its view on a High Court ruling in a case filed by Thirdway Alliance candidate Ekuru Aukot, which the commission has interpreted to mean the inclusion of all the eight candidates who vied in the August 8 presidential election that was eventually nullified.

“Amid the emerging constitutional and legal confusion, the IEBC should at once petition the courts to give meaning, clarity and certainty to a myriad of legal intricacies that now surround the holding of the fresh presidential election,” Elog steering committee chairperson Regina Opondo said in a statement.

The group also called for an inclusive engagement between the IEBC and the political actors.

The team asked President Uhuru Kenyatta to shelve proposed changes to the election laws that were passed by Jubilee Party members in Parliament.

“Don’t change laws very close to the election,” Elog national coordinator Mule Musau said.

President Kenyatta has said he is still going through the laws with his deputy William Ruto.

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