Kenya calls off repeat poll in opposition areas

Kenya’s electoral body, the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission on Friday postponed elections in key opposition areas after protesters disrupted the exercise on Thursday.

Making the announcement to reporters on Friday, Chairman Wafula Chebukati said the commission had "deliberated on the various incidents happening around the country and has postponed the elections scheduled to take place tomorrow [Saturday ] to another date scheduled to be announced".

Earlier in the day, clerics in Kenya had criticized Kenya's electoral body for calling for elections on Saturday in opposition strongholds especially because most of the residents from Western Kenya (Nyanza region) are members of the Seventh-day Adventist church and mostly go to worship on Saturday.

The leader of opposition, Raila Odinga, who boycotted Thursday’s elections, broke the silence on Friday by urging his supporters to boycott the planned Saturday repeat elections in his strongholds, hours before the announcement was made.

Elections in four counties - Kisumu, Homa Bay, Siaya, and Migori - failed to kick off after opposition supporters lit fires and blocked roads to bar electoral officials from accessing their areas.

Odinga, who had on the eve of the elections directed his followers to boycott Friday's vote, assured his supporters that he would make repairs to facilities in Nairobi's Kibera neighborhood that had been badly damaged during clashes between protesters and police.

"I am here because of the theft and destruction that happened here. They damaged and burnt everything. This is barbaric," Odinga said. "Yesterday [Thursday], all Kenyans heeded our plea and didn’t participate in the elections. I urge you to also stay away on the Saturday elections, we will repair this school within a week."

Odinga's comments came just as police confirmed the deaths of two more people -- including a 14-year-old -- shot in clashes with protesters on Friday bringing the death toll in Kenyan repeat elections to four.

Confirming the deaths, a senior police officer from Western Kenya who wished not be named said: "We have been informed that he tried to grab the gun of a police officer. That's how one of them was shot but we will issue more details after investigations. The other case was an accident."

This comes as President Uhuru Kenyatta is leading in the elections with 5,621,854 votes followed by Odinga who received 56,792 votes despite asking his supporters not to participate in the elections.

Vote tallying in Kenya's disputed elections is still ongoing. Chairman of the electoral body has admitted that the voter turnout was very low, at 34 percent, compared to the Aug. 8 election which boasted an 80 percent voter turnout.
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