Kenya electoral body prepares for 2017 vote, dismisses calls to quit

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Nairobi  –  Kenyan Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission has on Thursday rejected the opposition’s call to resign.

The Commissioners insisted in Nairobi that they were not resigning and dismissed this charge.

They said they were committed to fulfill their constitutional mandate and give the country a flawless, free and credible election in 2017.

The commission said it had restructured the way it handled technology, after an electronic identification system collapsed in 2013 drawing criticism from the opposition, who said it cast doubt on the result.

“We are reforming the way we handle technology to avoid repeating the failures of the 2013 vote and taking other steps to ensure next year’s polls are smooth.

The commission noted that presidential and parliamentary elections are more than a year away, but politicians are already lining up for what could be a bruising battle in a nation in which violence erupted after the 2007 vote and the result of the 2013 poll was disputed.

Members of the opposition Coalition of Reform and Democracy (CORD), which unsuccessfully sought to overturn the 2013 result, staged a street protest at the election commission’s office last week demanding it be scrapped and a new body appointed.

President Uhuru Kenyatta called on opponents not to stir unrest on the street after CORD threatened more protests.

The 2013 vote, which brought Kenyatta to power, proceeded calmly in spite of the opposition challenge.

Raila Odinga, the opposition leader who has lost previous votes but is expected to run again, accepted the court ruling.

Western diplomats said the authorities must prepare carefully to ensure another peaceful vote in a country where ethnic loyalties usually trump policy among voters.

About 1,200 were killed in ethnic killing that erupted after the 2007 poll. (Reuters/NAN)

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