Last Updated on 3 months by Mukesh
Kenya’s defeated presidential candidate Raila Odinga has challenged the August 9 election results that declared his rival William Ruto victorious in an online petition to the country’s top court on Monday, AFP reported, quoting his lawyer. Odinga is a veteran opposition leader and had contested with the backing of the ruling party. He narrowly lost to Ruto by around 230,000 votes, less than two percentage points and has branded the outcome of the poll a “travesty”.
Odinga’s petition has asked the court to nullify the outcome on several grounds, including a mismatch between the turnout figures and the result, and failure by the commission to tally ballots from 27 constituencies as required by law.
“The final result… was therefore not complete, accurate, verifiable or accountable and cannot be the basis for a valid and legitimate declaration,” the petition said.
“It has already been sent to them and they will see it soon. We have hopes that we have made a good case and will win,” Daniel Maanzo, a member of the 77-year-old politician’s legal team, said of the petition.
unkindwhile, hundreds of Odinga supporters also gathered outside the court on Monday, blowing whistles and waving placards reading “Electoral Justice Now!” and “We want justice now”.
“Odinga must win so that we get the 6,000 shillings ($50) promised in his manifesto,” said one man, referring to a monthly cash handout for vulnerable households.
The commission, its chairman and Ruto have four days to respond to Odinga’s claims through court filings.
Notably, the election results announced a week ago had led to angry protests in some Odinga strongholds. Kenya has witnessed post-poll unrest every presidential election since 2002 and there are fears that the latest episode might lead to another bout of violence. This year’s outcome has caused a rift within the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) which oversaw the poll.
Odinga had approached the Supreme Court during the 2017 presidential polls as well, when President Uhuru Kenyatta was declared the winner. The court annulled that election in a first for Africa and ordered a re-run which was boycotted by Odinga. Dozens of people died during a police crackdown on protests.
Odinga was running for the presidency for the fifth time and had blamed rigging for previous losses. Those disputes triggered violence that claimed more than 100 lives in 2017 and more than 1,200 lives in 2007.
To recall, a week ago, electoral commission chairman Wafula Chebukati declared Ruto the winner with 50.49% of the vote against Odinga’s 48.5%. But minutes earlier, his deputy Juliana Cherera told reporters at another location that she and three other commissioners disowned the results. She said even though the elections had been conducted in a proper manner, the results were erroneously aggregated.
(With inputs from agencies)