Kenya’s main opposition coalition walked out of negotiations on how a rerun of last month’s annulled presidential election will be managed and threatened street protests, setting back preparations for the Oct. 26 ballot.
According to Bloomberg, the officials quit the talks because of plans by the ruling Jubilee Party to remove powers from the Independent Electoral & Boundaries Commission, James Orengo, a senator for the opposition National Super Alliance, told reporters Thursday in the capital, Nairobi.
Proposed changes to the law include enabling commissioners to appoint a new chairman and reducing the number of people required to make a quorum, according to a copy of the bill provided by government spokesman Eric Kiraithe’s office.
“This law is going to create a lame-duck commission,” Orengo said. “We are left with no alternative but to walk out of this meeting,” he said, adding that negotiations “at this stage are an exercise in futility.”
The commission began talks with President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Jubilee Party and opposition leader Raila Odinga’s alliance on Wednesday to discuss how the authority will manage the rerun that’s scheduled for Oct. 26.
The new vote is being held after the Supreme Court annulled the Aug. 8 presidential election because the commission committed “irregularities and illegalities.” The opposition has demanded the electoral body be overhauled and different systems be used for the new vote, proposals that the Jubilee Party rejects.
Supporters of the five-party opposition coalition will begin demonstrations on Oct. 2 and hold protests every Monday and Friday until its demands are met, Odinga said Thursday.
“We have no other options but to take the battle to the people,” he said in comments broadcast live on television. “I call upon this generation to resist. They must arise and resist an attempt to take them back to single-party dictatorship.”
PHOTO: A campaign poster with the image of Raila Odinga pasted on an electric pole.