Kenya: IEBC postpones election in four counties citing security hitches

IEBC Chairperson Wafula Chebukati
IEBC Chairperson Wafula Chebukati

Kenya’s electoral body has postponed presidential elections in four counties in the western province of Nyanza, an opposition stronghold, citing security challenges.

Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) chairperson Wafula Chebulati on Thursday announced that voting in the four counties – Kisumu, Migori, Homa Bay and Siaya – had failed to take off due to protests staged by supporters of the opposition NASA coalition.

The poll will now be conducted in those counties on October 28.

Voting concluded in other parts of the East African country by 5:00PM local time, with reports of very low voter turnout in vast parts of the country.

Despite opposition leader Raila Odinga’s call for his supporters not to hold any protests on the election day, Nyanza witnessed protests as his supporters engaged police in battles, seeking to ensure the vote did not go on as planned.

Odinga withdrew from the election after his demands for reforms in the IEBC were not met. He said he would not participate in an election overseen by the body if the changes were not made, particularly the resignation of some officers his NASA coalition accused of engaging in electoral malpractices.

President Uhuru Kenyatta, seeking re-election for a second term, however dismissed those demands, saying they were means by the opposition to bully IEBC.

Kenyatta’s strongholds of Central ad Rift Valley provinces witnessed large turnouts, as his supporters heeded his call for them to vote him back.

At least one person was reportedly shot dead by police in Kisumu.

Inspector General of Police Joseph Boinnet however refuted claims of use of excessive force in quelling anti-poll riots in opposition strongholds.

Voter counting in some polling stations began soon after the 5:00PM closure time, and results are expected to start streaming in.