Kenya’s Rescheduled Elections Are a Triumph of Constitutionalism—but How Much Has Really Changed?

Source: The Nation

The country is now a tinderbox, in which supporters of the rival factions believe they can lose only if the other side rigs the results.

Nairobi—The celebrations are over, and the cold reality is dawning that the historic Supreme Court nullification of President Uhuru Kenyatta’s August 8 election victory presented only a temporary respite from Kenya’s toxic ethnic politics.

The repeat elections ordered by the Supreme Court have been scheduled for October 17, but already, familiar battle lines have been drawn. Veteran opposition campaigner Raila Odinga’s National Super Alliance, or NASA, vows that it will not take part in polls overseen by the same Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) indicted by the Supreme Court ruling.

President Kenyatta’s Jubilee Party, in turn, has regrouped after the initial shock of the decision to launch vicious attacks against both the Supreme Court and NASA, which it accuses of colluding to deliver the unfavorable ruling.

In the meantime, the IEBC, which is supposed to be organizing the fresh presidential election, is split down the middle. Chairman Wafula Chebukati attempted to sideline Chief Executive Ezra Chiloba and other key secretariat directors by appointing a project team to manage the rescheduled polling, but Chebukati was rebuffed by his fellow commissioners. After mediation by church leaders, he relented and said Chiloba would head the team.

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