In Summary
  • Of course, the IEBC will have to determine the way forward in strict accordance with the laws of the land.
  • President Kenyatta is a man who was wrongly denied victory by the Supreme Court despite a difference of 1.4 million votes.

Tuesday’s press conference by Raila Odinga in which he formally withdrew from the presidential election scheduled for 26th of this month was politically and legally significant.

The announcement and the strategy that informs it took few by surprise.

For those who know Mr Odinga well, the announcement was one more instance of his endless gamesmanship and a testimony to how far his pursuit for power will go.

He will never admit it, but his withdrawal was a case in which he blinked first, when a resounding defeat was obvious.

The reasons for his withdrawal and suggestions for a fresh nomination after 90 days are both bewitching and bewildering.

What is the rationale for fresh nomination when he was duly nominated?

Isn’t the process a Supreme Court-mandated process that has specific timelines?

Isn’t the process defined and prescribed by the Constitution and other laws?

What reforms do we need as a country to undertake the fresh elections?

And why is Mr Odinga ignoring the legal consequences of his withdrawal?

In fact, isn’t his withdrawal in light of the process ordered by the Supreme Court in flagrant contempt of the order issued by the court on September 1, 2017?

Mr Odinga was constitutionally entitled to run for president and he was on the ballot for the presidential election re-election.


But as he has variously stated, and rightly so, no one can force him to vie.

It is a personal choice. His choice to withdraw from the race must be respected.

Of course, the IEBC will have to determine the way forward in strict accordance with the laws of the land.

Kenyans shouldn’t panic about the law that regulates Mr Odinga’s withdrawal.

Thanks to the elaborate and bipartisan committee of the Houses chaired by Kiraitu Murungi and James Orengo, they foresaw this scenario and adequately addressed it through legislation.

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