NAIROBI – Kenya’s High Court ordered the electoral commission on Wednesday to include the head of a third party among the presidential candidates for the election re-run scheduled for Oct. 26, just one day after the main opposition candidate withdrew.
Ekuru Aukot, leader of Thirdway Alliance, will thus have the right to run for the presidency, although the court previously decided not to include more candidates besides opposition leader Raila Odinga and current President Uhuru Kenyatta.
The court has annulled the results of the presidential election held on Aug. 8 and won by Kenyatta due to alleged irregularities committed in the counting of votes.
The High Court’s ruling issued on Wednesday was based on the fact that there was no reason to exclude other candidates from the election since it is a new election instead of a run-off, concluding that the exclusion of Aukot would constitute a violation of his rights.
The Thirdway Alliance’s figurehead, who came in fifth in the last presidential election with 0.18% of the votes, is now the only candidate to run against Kenyatta, who was reelected with 54 percent of the votes on Aug. 8.
This could mean that the election would go ahead despite the fact that Odinga’s party, the National Super Alliance (NASA), considers that the withdrawal of its candidate cancels the re-run and forces the electoral commission to call for new elections.
On Tuesday, Odinga withdrew his candidacy from the re-run presidential election, claiming that the electoral commission had not reformed in line with a top court order to ensure against a recurrence of irregularities and illegalities.