iReportAljazeera: Opposing calls by Kenyatta, Odinga as poll rerun nears

Odinga addresses his supporters during a rally at Nairobi's Uhuru Park [Siegfried Modola/Reuters]
Odinga addresses his supporters during a rally at Nairobi's Uhuru Park [Siegfried Modola/Reuters]

 President Uhuru Kenyatta has urged Kenyans to vote in Thursday's presidential election rerun, shortly after opposition leader Raila Odinga called on supporters to stay away from the polls.

The opposing calls came after Kenya's electoral commission on Wednesday said that the vote would go ahead as planned, after an unsuccessful last-ditch effort to delay it after five judges failed to turn up at the Supreme Court to hear a petition.

In a televised address, Kenyatta said "the rights of those who wished not to vote" were protected by the country's constitution.

"But let no one infringe on his brothers' or sisters' right [to vote] and let everyone know that our security agencies have been deployed across the country to ensure the safety of each and every Kenyan," added Kenyatta.

His comments were in response to an earlier speech by Odinga at Nairobi's Uhuru Park, where he urged voters to boycott the elections.

"Do not participate in any way in the sham election. Convince your friends, neighbours and everyone else to not participate," he told supporters in the Kenyan capital.

"We advise Kenyans who value democracy and justice to hold vigilance prayers or stay at home," added Odinga, leader of the National Super Alliance (NASA) coalition.

Reiterating that he will not take part in the poll, Odinga said his opposition alliance would now be transformed into a resistance movement against the government.

'Getting messier'

Kenya is holding the election re-run after the country's Supreme Court annulled the results of an August 8 poll, following a challenge by Odinga, due to "irregularities" and "illegalities" in the electoral process.

Kenyatta had been declared the winner of that vote.

Odinga pulled out of the new race earlier this month after claiming opposition demands to overhaul the country's election body had not been met.

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