Kenya election thrown into turmoil as top opposition candidate withdraws

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Kenya's National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR) on Monday disclosed that 37 Kenyans protesters died, following three days of opposition protests after the Independent Electoral Boundaries Commission (IEBC) declared President Uhuru Kenyatta the victor of the August 8 elections.Kenyatta's announced victory was, however, overturned on September 1, after the opposition moved to the Supreme Court which cited irregularities when the IEBC transmitted the results of the poll.

The Supreme Court nullified President Uhuru Kenyatta's August re-election citing illegalities in the August 8 vote and the electoral commission's refusal to allow scrutiny of its computer system.

The protests worsened after Kenya's former Prime Minister Raila Odinga - Kenyatta's main opponent - claimed that the August 8 polls were rigged prompting more opposition supporters to protest in the streets calling for justice.

Kenya introduced electronic transmission of results in the 2013 elections to curb rigging after the flawed polls of 2007 sparked off ethnic violence that left more than 1,000 people dead and 600,000 evicted from their homes.

It also proposes to strip the powers of announcing the victor of a presidential poll from the chairman of the electoral commission to any other commissioner.

"We have come to the conclusion that there is no intention on the part of the IEBC to undertake any changes to its operations and personnel - All indications are that the election scheduled for 26 October will be worse than the previous one".

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He assured his supporters that the march to power was still on, but cautioned that it will not be easy as there will be a lot of drama, including defection of Nasa candidates who lost in the August elections. "If you do not want elections, step aside so that the country can move forward", declared Kenyatta.

It said while the United States did not back any party or candidate, it fully supports the work of an election board.

But, speaking in Mombasa, President Kenyatta claimed that Mr Odinga was planning to pull out of the repeat election and challenged him to quit the race if he is not interested. "Now we are ready for the repeat election and we are sure we will win with a bigger margin", Kenyatta continued. Odinga has threatened to boycott the fresh elections if the electoral commission is not reformed.

"It is my democratic right not to participate in a pre-rigged election", Odinga told journalists.

"But Odinga says that the IEBC has refused to even listen to the some of the demands - demands that the NASA coalition says are reasonable - that they have been making".

The IEBC has been split between chairman Wafula Chebukati - who has demanded answers to the technical problems which marred the first poll - and chief executive Ezra Chiloba, who insists that only minor irregularities took place in an otherwise free and fair vote.

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