Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta says Thursday’s presidential election must go on — with or without opposition candidate Raila Odinga.
“We are here requesting you, with a lot of respect … Kayole residents, please let’s agree to come out in large numbers and vote for me,” Kenyatta said at a rally Monday in a Nairobi neighborhood.
Thursday’s vote is Kenya’s second try this year to elect as president. The Supreme Court threw out the results of the August 8 election because of what it called “irregularities and illegalities.”
Opposition leader Odinga has withdrawn his candidacy, saying Kenya’s electoral commission has failed to undertake election reforms. The opposition coalition has expressed doubts the commission is ready to “conduct free, fair and credible elections.”
Kenyatta said Monday his administration has provided the commission with the funds it needs to do its job. “Now they really should deliver,” he said.
U.S. Ambassador to Kenya, Robert Godec, read a statement Monday on behalf of 20 western nations, including the European Union, urging all sides to come together in Kenya for a credible election.
But Godec said Kenyan courts should order a postponement if justices feel the commission is not ready.
“The deteriorating political environment is undermining preparations for the new presidential election,” the statement said. “Inflammatory rhetoric, attacks on institutions, and growing insecurity all make holding a credible and fair poll more difficult … it is dangerous and it must stop.”
Ruth Odinga, the opposition leader’s sister, has been accused of damaging election commission property and encouraging violence.
Kenyatta is daring anyone to try to threaten or attack voters.