Kenya's election commission on Friday abandoned an effort to hold presidential election votes in four counties in the western part of the country, as clashes continued between protesters and police in opposition strongholds after Thursday's chaotic repeat presidential election. The new election was held after the Supreme Court annulled the Aug. 8 presidential election due to irregularities. On Thursday, the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission postponed voting in four western Kenya counties -- Kisumu, Migori, Homa Bay and Siaya -- until Saturday because of violence. But the commission Friday suspended the vote indefinitely, saying the lives of electoral staff would be in danger. The decision came after warnings from opposition and church leaders that going ahead would only trigger more violence.
Kenya faces its deepest democratic crisis in nearly a decade, with a rerun election due to proceed Thursday, though the vote lacks legitimacy for opposition supporters and may trigger violence, according to analysts. The election process, plagued with killings, hate speech, death threats, attacks on democratic institutions and a tangle of court disputes, has paralyzed the economy for months and even seen rising levels of hunger. One of the most troubling signs in a chaotic process came Wednesday when the Supreme Court failed to decide on a petition calling for the election to be delayed, for lack of a quorum. The petition was brought by three civil activists who argued that conditions for a fair election did not exist. Several judges were unable to appear, but in the highly charged political atmosphere the court's failure sparked speculation that some judges were unwilling to preside in the case.
Kenya's opposition leader has said his coalition will not accept the result of last week's controversial presidential election rerun, vowing to embark on a political campaign to "restore democracy in the country". Raila Odinga made the comments on Tuesday, one day after President Uhuru Kenyatta was declared the winner of the October 26 poll. Kenyatta took 98.2 percent of the votes, according to official results, but turnout stood at less than 40 percent following a boycott call by Odinga. "This election must not stand," Odinga told reporters, saying that the result was not credible and alleging that the electoral body was not in charge of the poll. "If allowed to stand, it will make a complete mockery of elections and might well be the end of the ballot as a means of instituting government in Kenya," added Odinga, leader of the National Super Alliance (NASA) opposition coalition.