Odinga drops from Kenya’s presidential elections

Kenya (MNN) — On Tuesday, the opposition party leader Raila Odinga dropped out of Kenya’s presidential election. He was the only other major candidate running against President Uhuru Kenyatta.

Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta (Photo courtesy of MAKE IT KENYA PHOTO / STUART PRICE via Wikimedia Commons)

Odinga challenged the former election results from August 8th when Kenyatta won, saying the process was corrupt. The Supreme Court ordered a re-election for October 26th between the top two candidates, but Odinga withdrew saying the election process hasn’t changed and would still be corrupted.

Kenya’s Supreme Court has opened the re-election to the other minor presidential candidates who participated in the August 8th election. However, all the other minor candidates got less than one percent of the votes combined from August 8th.

Kenyatta’s party says he should automatically win now that Odinga withdrew, but the Supreme Court’s order upholds that Kenyatta should face some opposition in the re-election. The re-election must happen before November 1st, according to the Constitution.

Meanwhile, tribal tensions are getting more and more volatile. In Nairobi on Wednesday, thousands of opposition protesters were dispersed by police using tear gas. Four people were shot and wounded in Kisumu City where police used live ammunition against protesters, according to ABC News.

DOOR International has team members in Kenya working on Scripture translations for the Deaf. Rob Myers with DOOR International says, “I think a lot of people are keeping their eye on [the situation] and trying to figure out, do we pull out any international staff who may not necessarily need to be there right now? How do we keep local staff safe and make sure the ministry can proceed even in the midst of some of the chaos that’s happening there right now?”

Police in Nairobi, Kenya (Image Courtesy: DEMOSH, Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic | Wikimedia Commons)

The people of Kenya are hoping the situation doesn’t become a déjà vu of Kenya’s elections in 2007 that quickly turned violent over tribal tensions. Around 1,300 people were killed.

“We actually have several translation teams who are operating right now on campus and our leadership has planned to meet even tomorrow to talk about should those teams plan to leave early. They were going to leave at the beginning of November to head back into their countries to do community testing and check some of the translation work. We may end up moving those flights up and having them leave a little early.”

Myers says they are also talking with several other organizations in Kenya from similar fields of translation and church planting. “[We are] talking to them and we’ll probably come to a consensus with them about when is the time that we really should try to have international staff leave if that’s necessary.”

For now, Myers offers these critical prayer requests: “I would say, number one, pray for wisdom for the leadership in Kenya. Many of these leaders are trying to make the best decision they can … and it’s a very complex situation when you have tribal tension and a lack of clarity in what the steps are next in the Constitution and that type of thing.

“Pray for a peaceful and just end to these proceedings and that things would settle back down and the government would be able to move forward.

“And then just pray for the wisdom and leadership of these various ministries on-ground. Pray that they would be able to take the precautions that are necessary, but also pray that the Gospel would continue to go out in the midst of this.”

Please also pray for unity among the Kenyan Church in the midst of this political upheaval.