Kenya vote still on: Here’s what you should know

A roundup of the most important developments in the run-up to Kenya’s election:

  • Chief Justice of Kenya David Maraga has announced to television cameras that judges will not sit to hear a petition to halt the election due to take place tomorrow. He explained that one judge was unwell, another couldn’t get a flight and another – Deputy Chief Justice Philomena Mwilu – was unable to attend after her bodyguard was shot and injured on Tuesday night. It was unclear why the other two were absent.
  • Election board (IEBC) chairman Wafula Chebukati said this means that Thursday’s presidential rerun must take place as planned. He says security agencies have given assurances for the safety of the polls.
  • Opposition coalition NASA is calling on supporters not to take to the streets on Thursday but instead to stay home. Raila Odinga speaking in Nairobi warned that the “bloodthirsty regime” would “massacre” opposition supporters if they went out to protest, slamming the vote as a sham.
  • Mombasa opposition leaders echoed Raila’s position, calling for a boycott of the vote and terming the shooting of Justice Philomena as “intimidation of judges.”
  • Nonetheless, Coast regional coordinator Nelson Marwa told reporters that youths have gone to Mombasa in large numbers. “I hope they have come to relax. If they have come for any other reason, they will see fire,” he said, insisting that demonstrations will not be allowed in the Coast.
  • Protesters did turn out in Kisumu, an opposition stronghold in Kenya’s west, shortly after news broke from the courthouse in Nairobi. They were led by Governor Anyang Nyong‘o, a NASA supporter, who is quoted by Reuters as saying that the people will be justified in rebelling of the presidential vote goes ahead:

“If the government subverts the sovereign will of the people … then people are entitled to rebel against this government,” said Governor Nyon’o.

  • Opposition supporters have also turned out in Migori County, blocking roads in order to prevent delivery of election materials, according to Kenyan press reports.
  • An election board official in Siaya County was “almost lynched” by an angry mob before being rescued by police, according to County Returning Officer Ruth Kulundu. IEBC officials fear that it will be difficult to conduct the election in some areas of Siaya.