Kenyan opposition leaders (L-R), Musalia Mudavadi, Kalonzo Musyoka, Raila Odinga, Moses Wetangula and Nick Salat hold hands as they announce their alliance during the 2017 general elections aspirants conference organised by the opposition parties in the capital Nairobi, Kenya January 11, 2017. Credit: Reuters/Thomas Mukoya
Kenyan opposition political parties announced an alliance on Wednesday to fight the August presidential and parliamentary elections against President Uhuru Kenyatta’s coalition.
Kenyatta, 55, is seeking a second and final term after winning the 2013 race against veteran politician Raila Odinga, 72, whose Orange Democratic Movement is one of the five main opposition parties uniting.
The test will be whether the new coalition can agree on a single candidate before the vote.
Kenyatta’s presidency has seen the economy grow at a steady 5 to 6 percent a year and some opinion polls have suggested Kenyatta is ahead, although it is yet to be confirmed who his main rival will be.
Odinga, who has lost three elections, wants to run again but is facing challenges from others in the opposition alliance. He disputed the results of the last vote in 2013 and the election in 2007.
At Wednesday’s launch rally for the new National Super Alliance of Kenya (NASA), opposition politicians lined up in a packed Nairobi cultural center to call for unity.
“Pray for us to solidify, to be one, to be united, and we shall win,” said Musalia Mudavadi, whose Amani National Congress Party is a member of the alliance.
The meeting also aimed to agree on a response to an election law amendment, pushed through by the government, which would allow the use of manual systems if electronic voting systems failed. Electronic systems that were meant to ensure a transparent vote in 2013 collapsed, which the opposition said undermined the legitimacy of the vote.
Some opposition politicians have previously called for protests against the election law amendment. However, participants at Wednesday’s rally played down this option.
“We would have gone to the streets. But we have chosen to go register as voters,” said Nick Salat, Secretary General of KANU, another of the groups in the new alliance which also includes the Wiper Party and Ford Kenya Party.
Source: Business & Financial News, Breaking US & International News | Reuters
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