Kenya’s defeated presidential candidate Raila Odinga has rejected the result of the August 9 election as “null and void” and said that Kenya’s democracy faces a long legal crisis.
Odinga told a crowd in Nairobi: “What we saw yesterday was a travesty and a blatant disregard for the constitution and the laws of Kenya by (Wafula) Chebukati the minority of IEBC commissioners”.
This was Odinga’s first appearance since Kenya’s electoral commission chairman on Monday declared Ruto the winner with almost 50.5% of the votes.
Odinga’s first comments on the result came shortly after four of the seven election commissioners said they stood by their decision a day earlier to disown the outcome of the presidential poll, saying the final tallying process had been “opaque”.
The Vice Chairperson of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) Juliana Cherera told media at a separate location that she and three other commissioners disowned the results.
“Our view is that the figures announced by [electoral commission chairman Wafula] Chebukati are null and void and must be quashed by court of law,” said Odinga.
On Tuesday, the Local Elections Observation Group announced that its highly regarded parallel voting tally “corroborates the official results” in an important check on the process.
According to Article 163 (3) of the Kenyan constitution, candidates have to file petitions to challenge the election at the supreme court. Odinga has until 22 August days to petition the court. The supreme court judges would then decide within 14 days of the filling of the case. If the court orders an annulment, a new vote must be held within 60 days.
Odinga supporters from his political stronghold in Kisumu, western Kenya, have welcomed his move. Many of them say the election was rigged and justice should be served.
This has led to violent protests in Odinga’s strongholds in informal settlements in the capital, Nairobi, on Monday evening, although the situation was calm on Tuesday.
Kenya’s deadliest electoral violence occurred after the 2007 vote, when more than 1,100 people died in bloodletting between rival tribes. In August 2017, the Supreme Court annulled the election after Odinga rejected a Kenyatta victory. Dozens of people were killed by police in post-poll protests.
Odinga’s campaign had expected victory after outgoing President Uhuru Kenyatta in a political twist backed his former rival Odinga instead of his own deputy president, with whom he fell out years ago.