After his fellow commissioner fled the country, citing threats to her life, Kenya’s top election official on Wednesday accused the nation’s political parties of undermining the country’s stability and warned that he was not confident that next week’s presidential election would be credible. Kenyans are scheduled to vote — again — for president on Oct. 26. The nation’s current president, Uhuru Kenyatta, handily won the first election in August, beating the veteran opposition leader, Raila Odinga, by 1.4 million votes. But Mr. Odinga turned to Kenya’s Supreme Court, arguing that the vote had been manipulated to assure the president’s victory. To the nation’s surprise, the court ruled that the vote was flawed and, in a first for Africa, annulled the results, paving the way for a new election. Still, Mr. Odinga said he would withdraw from the race anyway, insisting that the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission was deeply biased against him and would not be able to fix its underlying problems by election day.
Kenyans, meanwhile, are on edge. Renewed campaigning is growing even more heated as voting day approaches. On Tuesday, Mr. Odinga called off protests in Nairobi’s city center, alleging that his supporters were the targets of police violence. Human rights groups say that nearly 70 people have been killed across the country in the wake of the original election.
The death of Chris Msando, the electoral commission’s top digital security officer who was killed a week before the election, remains unsolved. And on Wednesday, an election commissioner resigned, citing death threats against her.
“Ironically the very people — the political leaders — that are supposed to build the nation have become the greatest threat to the peace and stability of the nation,” the top election official, Wafula Chebukati, said Wednesday.