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Kenya elections continue to take dramatic shifts

By October 18, 2017

Kenya (MNN) – To say this Kenyan election season has been dramatic and fast-developing is an understatement. The Supreme Court ordered a revote to take place later this month after its historic move to throw out August’s election results. Last week opposition leader Raila Odinga announced he was dropping out. Earlier this week, he called upon his supporters to protest until changes to the election process are made. But the story continues to shift.

Raila Odinga as Prime Minister (Photo courtesy of Utenriksdepartementet UD via Flickr: https://flic.kr/p/dtEVux)

Bernice Gatere of Trans World Radio Kenya has been helping us follow the story. Earlier this week she said, “The slogan is, ‘no reforms, no elections.’ But the government has banned protests in three major cities—the city of Nairobi, the city of Kisumu, and the city of Mombasa—the biggest cities in the country, saying that they are causing destruction of properties.”

Opposition groups originally said they would not heed the bans. However, there were reports yesterday that Odinga called off the protests and that the government ended the bans. On Sunday, Human Rights Watch reported that as many as 67 people have been killed by police in the protests since the failed August election.

The constitution gives 60 days for the revote to take place, putting the deadline at November 1st.

Gatere says, “Odinga has said that he has withdrawn from the re-run which was scheduled for the 26th of October. But the Electoral body, the IEBC, they say that he has not yet filled the form that he needs to fill—form 24A—in order to officially withdraw from the race.”

Kenya’s current President Uhurua Kenyatta. (Photo courtesy Uhuru Kenyatta via Flickr: https://flic.kr/p/9S9bou)

Even though Odinga insists he will not take part in the election, Gatere says some analysists are pointing out the fact that he similarly declared he would not protest the initial election before the Supreme Court, which he eventually did.

“There are people who think he may still pull a surprise and still be on the elections because his name will be on the ballot paper.”

Tribal tension continues

But simmering underneath the political strife are the related tribal tensions. Last week, we asked you to pray for these tensions to relax.

Gatere explains, “Politics generally seem to be very tribal. Even when it is an individual, he is able to mobilize his tribesmen to his side. So, both sides are seen as certain tribes against certain tribes.”

However, she is praying that the Church can be an example of love, peace, and reconciliation during this time.

“We believe that this is God’s moment for us to make a difference by aligning ourselves with God and his purposes for this nation and not aligning ourselves with any party. So it’s our prayer that it’s actually a moment for the Church to take leadership.”

Please pray for the Church to be bold in this effort as they speak the truth and healing of the Gospel. Ask God to arrange for a peaceful end to this situation.

Rather than take side in political situations, Trans World Radio is sharing the hope of the Gospel all over the globe. If you’d like to support this work, click here.

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