By Andrew Wasike and Magdalene Mukami
Throwing a possible bombshell into an already chaotic election season, the head of Kenya’s election authority on Wednesday said he could not guarantee that next week’s elections would meet standards of fairness.
Speaking to reporters in the capital Nairobi about the sudden resignation of one of his colleagues, saying she feared for her life, Wafula Chebukati, chairman of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries (IEBC), said that with a divided commission and under current conditions, he cannot guarantee the Oct. 26 presidential election will be free, fair, and credible.
“I will not go down in the history of this country” as a leader who “plunged the country into a worse crisis than I found it,” Chebukati said.
Next week’s poll is a court-ordered re-run of the Aug. 8 presidential poll, after the Supreme Court found the victory of incumbent President Uhuru Kenyatta to be marred by irregularities and illegalities.
“It is difficult to guarantee free, fair, and credible elections without critical changes in key secretariat staff,” said Chebukati.
With just a week until elections that the opposition has vowed to boycott, many Kenyans are uncertain of the future of their country.
Kenyatta vowed Wednesday that he will take part in the election even if he runs unopposed.
After pulling out of the race, the country’s opposition under Raila Odinga has changed its stance from “No reforms, no elections” to no elections entirely, planning a massive demonstration on Oct. 26 -- also Kenyatta’s birthday -- to disrupt the exercise.
The country has already been rocked by demonstrations calling on the election commission to resign.
2007-08 post-election violence in Kenya took more than 1,000 lives.