The Latest: Kenyan officials call for restraint before polls

AP News
Posted: Oct 23, 2017 6:59 AM

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — The Latest on Kenya before its re-run of the presidential election on Oct. 26 (all times local):

12:55 a.m.

Kenyan officials are asking for restraint ahead of an election Thursday that the main opposition group led by Raila Odinga says it will boycott.

Fred Matiang'i, a Cabinet secretary in charge of internal security, on Monday condemned what he called the "politics of anarchy" and said any Kenyans who choose to demonstrate should do so peacefully.

"Which part of the law allows you to hurl stones at a police station?" Matiang'i said. "There is a clear difference between rioters and demonstrators."

Odinga has called for protests ahead of the vote, which is a re-run of an Aug. 8 election that was nullified by the Supreme Court because of what it said were illegalities and irregularities.

Some opposition supporters rioted after the earlier vote, though human rights groups accused security forces of using excessive force to clamp down on dissent. Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch say police killed at least 67 opposition supporters after the announcement of the August vote results, which declared President Uhuru Kenyatta to be the winner.


12:25 p.m.

Kenya's main opposition group says its leaders have told Western diplomats that it won't participate in an election re-run planned for Thursday because "it doesn't serve the country's interest."

Musalia Mudavadi, campaign chairman of the opposition National Super Alliance, said in a statement Monday that the Kenyan electoral commission is not ready "to conduct free, fair and credible elections."

The opposition camp, led by Raila Odinga, has previously made similar comments despite President Uhuru Kenyatta's insistence on proceeding with the vote, which was scheduled after the Supreme Court nullified an Aug. 8 election because of what it said were illegalities and irregularities. Kenyatta had been declared the winner in the earlier vote.

Mudavadi said Monday's meeting was held with top diplomats from the United States, the European Union, Britain, Norway and Denmark at the request of the embassies.


11:45 a.m.

The United Nations and the African Union are appealing for peace as tensions build in Kenya, where the main opposition group says it will boycott a planned presidential election on Thursday.

The call for calm comes amid allegations by opposition leader Raila Odinga that the election, a re-run of an August vote that was nullified by the Supreme Court, will not be free and fair. President Uhuru Kenyatta, who was declared the winner in August, wants to push ahead with this week's vote even though the election commission head says he cannot guarantee its credibility.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and Moussa Faki Mahamat, chair of the African Union Commission, said Sunday that political factions should refrain from violence and that Kenyan security forces should also act with restraint.


Christopher Torchia in Nairobi, Kenya, contributed to this report.