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Kenya opposition chief urges voters to ‘stay home’ on election day


Raila Odinga. PHOTO: Simon Maina/AFP via Getty Images

Kenya’s opposition leader Raila Odinga urged his supporters to boycott Thursday’s presidential re-run election, claiming it would not be free and fair.

“What we do tomorrow: one, do not participate in any way in the sham election, two, convince your friends, neighbours and everyone else not to participate,” he told a crowd of thousands in Nairobi Wednesday. He called on them to “hold vigils and prayers away from polling stations, or just stay at home.”


Kenya’s presidential election has plunged the country into political turmoil.

The result of the original August vote, won by President Uhuru Kenyatta, was annulled by the Supreme Court after a legal challenge from Odinga, who then withdrew from the re-run the judges ordered claiming lack of reforms at the election commission meant the vote would not be free and fair.

After a flurry of last-minute legal challenges failed to halt the election, Odinga told his supporters not to take part.

“Fellow Kenyans, tomorrow we begin with new determination the battle for electoral justice,” Odinga said, declaring that to participate would be to “succumb to dictatorship”.

He called on his supporters “to resist dictatorship and to fight to restore a government established in compliance with the constitution.”

“We must rise to the occasion and save democracy not only for ourselves but for all of Africa,” Odinga said.

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