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Kenya's Supreme Court to hear petition to delay election

They argue that a delay of up to 90 days should be ordered by the Supreme Court

AFP  |  Nairobi 

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Kenya's Supreme will hear a last-ditch on Wednesday to delay a presidential poll which the opposition is boycotting and even top officials doubt can be free and fair.

In the latest twist to a dramatic saga in the east African powerhouse, the agreed to hear the urgent from three human rights activists arguing is not ready for Thursday's re-run of the


Chief Justice David Maraga, who will oversee the hearing, presided over the September 1 ruling that annulled the of the first due to "irregularities" in the electronic transmission of results, and mismanagement by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC).

"We are hoping they will cancel elections on October 26," said activist Khelef Khalifa of Muslims for Human Rights, who filed the alongside two other activists.

The petitioners argue that veteran opposition leader Raila Odinga's withdrawal from the re-run two weeks ago and the IEBC chairman's own admission last week that "a free, fair and credible election" could not be guaranteed means the poll should be delayed.

They argue that a delay of up to 90 days should be ordered by the Supreme

The annulment of the August 8 victory of President Uhuru Kenyatta was hailed as an opportunity to deepen democracy in a country plagued by disputed elections.

But the re-run has instead been dogged by chaos and acrimony.

Top diplomats and observers have excoriated both Odinga and Kenyatta for sowing division and refusing to hold joint meetings with the IEBC, instead of searching for a path to a free and fair

US Ambassador Robert Godec said this week that if the electoral commission was not ready for Thursday's poll, it should ask the courts for a delay.

"We would be fine with that," he said.

However, pressured by political parties, the IEBC has been riven by internal discord.

Last week a top commissioner quit her job and fled the country, citing fears for her life and intimidation of poll officials, and just hours later IEBC boss Wafula Chebukati declared he could not guarantee a credible

While he said the commission was logistically ready to carry out the election, he has lambasted leaders and his staff for interference in the vote and raised doubts that the political environment was conducive for voters to exercise their rights.

Odinga, who pulled out accusing the IEBC of failing to make fundamental reforms, has said he will announce his final position on the elections at a rally in Nairobi on Wednesday afternoon.

While he earlier called for mass protests on day, on Tuesday in an interview with the BBC he denied doing that, urging supporters to "stay away".

However, his National Super Alliance (NASA) coalition took to Twitter insisting protests were still on.

First Published: Wed, October 25 2017. 18:51 IST
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