Raila Odinga takes a gamble by threatening to boycott Kenya’s election


Odinga’s poker face

IN THE rickety wooden markets in Nairobi, where traders sell old books, second-hand clothes and kitchenware, walking away is a buyer’s last negotiating ploy. If he is lucky, he will be chased down the street and offered a better price. Raila Odinga, Kenya’s softly-spoken opposition leader, seems to be hoping a similar strategy may rescue his electoral chances.

On October 10th Mr Odinga withdrew from a re-run of the presidential election scheduled for October 26th, arguing that if it went ahead then it would not be free or fair. Courts had already annulled the presidential part of a wider set of elections held on August 8th, after finding problems with the way it was run. But no reforms have been made to the electoral process since then, he argued.

It had already been clear for several weeks that Mr Odinga did not plan to contest the election. His coalition of parties, the National Super Alliance (NASA), had…

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