In another unanticipated twist in Kenya’s 2017 electoral process, on 10 October Raila Odinga announced that he would not be standing in the 26 October presidential run-off election against Uhuru Kenyatta. Odinga had continually stated that he would not participate in the 26 October poll unless his extensive demands for reform at Kenya’s electoral commission were met, though this decision to withdraw was likely influenced as much by his slim probability of victory and dwindling campaign finance as his outrage at the electoral process.

What will occur on 26 October is uncertain, and Kenya is to some extent in uncharted territory. Kenyatta has reported that he will compete in the run-off regardless of opposition; a Kenyan High Court has ordered the electoral commission to include Ekuru Aukot (the third placed candidate in the August presidential elections with less than 1% of the vote) on the ballot; Kenyatta’s Jubilee Party is presently engaged in passing electoral reform to more easily confirm the victory of an unopposed candidate without an election; and, Odinga may even attempt to push the Supreme Court towards a second electoral intervention.

One certainty is that Odinga’s withdrawal will not be quiet. Immediately following the announcement, Senator James Orengo rallied supporters for nationwide protests. Clashes between civilians and a heavy-handed police force are likely to continue, tensions will remain high, and political uncertainty shows little sign of dissipating in the short term.

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