Kenya election update: Key incidents

President Uhuru Kenyatta and his security detail in Nairobi, October 23, 2017 (Uhuru Kenyatta / Facebook)

Kenya’s repeat presidential election is scheduled for Thursday, October 26. Here’s a roundup of some of the most important developments around the poll:

  • Kenya’s election board IEBC on Tuesday cancelled a briefing on its preparedness for the election. Chairman Wafula Chebukati had said last week that the commission is divided and that he cannot guarantee the election will be free and fair.
  • Roselyn Akombe, a commissioner on the IEBC, has fled to the United States and resigned her position. She told media that the IEBC was under “siege,” unable to reach consensus or take any decisions. Nonetheless, the IEBC has issued directives and made preparations for the poll to be held as scheduled.
  • Kenya’s Supreme Court is expected to hold a last-minute hearing on a petition from human rights activists arguing the election should not go ahead. The court is being asked to determine whether the electoral commission and its chairman will be able to conduct a free and fair election on Thursday.
  • Opposition leader Raila Odinga’s sister Ruth Odinga faces charges of incitement to violence after an incident last week when protesters whom she was leading allegedly attacked officials from the election board IEBC in the western city of Kisumu. Kenya’s chief prosecutor announced the charges Monday.
  • NASA leader Raila Odinga on Tuesday led a ‘no-election’ campaign to Kitui town. During the rally he claimed to have won the August 8 poll, which the supreme court annulled, saying “crafty IEBC officials” had robbed him of victory.
  • NASA co-principal Moses Wetang’ula also speaking on Tuesday in Kitui allegedly urged residents to stop people from going out to vote. As quoted by The Star newspaper, he said that traitors will be dealt with “man to man.”
  • Gunfire was reported Tuesday in Migori, a border town in southwest Kenya, as police tried to disperse crowds of pro-opposition protesters. Protesters reportedly had blocked the highway to Tanzania using metal containers and boulders.
  • An unknown gunman shot and injured the driver of Deputy Chief Justice Philomena Mwilu on Tuesday evening in Nairobi. Police say the driver was injured in the shoulder and they are treating the incident as a robbery.
  • The European Union has reduced the number of its elections observers for the poll Thursday saying it was concerned by “the extreme tension, disruptions of polling preparations, and strong criticism that has been made of the international community.”
  • Kisumu’s governor, deputy governor and area MPs led protests against the election in Kisumu on Tuesday.
  • President Uhuru Kenyatta is urging his supporters to vote, saying they should not be intimidated, and he warns that his government will deal with those who attempt to disrupt the poll.
  • Kenya’s shilling has dropped to a value of 103.75 against the dollar, its lowest level since mid-August, amid fears of unrest in the country.