HomeNewsKenya election: Raila Odinga challenges election outcomes

Kenya election: Raila Odinga challenges election outcomes

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NAIROBI — After every week of refusing to concede defeat, former prime minister Raila Odinga on Monday filed a petition in Kenya’s Supreme Court docket outlining his case that Deputy President William Ruto’s victory was “unlawful, invalid, null and void.”

Odinga’s extensively anticipated court docket problem will launch the following part within the carefully contested election, which pitted two of the nation’s most established politicians towards each other and was marred by division amongst members of the nation’s unbiased electoral fee. Minutes earlier than the electoral fee’s chair, Wafula Chebukati, introduced final week that Ruto had received 50.49 % of the vote, in contrast with Odinga’s 48.5 %, 4 of seven members declared they may not stand by the outcomes due to the “opaque nature” of the method.

Among the many allegations made by Odinga and his working mate, Martha Karua, of their lawsuit is that Chebukati “did in reality fraudulently manipulate and warp the presidential election outcomes” and that Ruto failed to achieve the 50 % plus one vote majority wanted to win. In a information convention Monday afternoon, Odinga alleged the vote tally concerned “criminality” and framed his lawsuit as half of a bigger combat for Kenya’s future.

“This can be a do or die battle for the corruption cartels who’ve all the things to lose to the forces of democracy,” stated Odinga, a veteran opposition chief who was on his fifth bid for the presidency. “… For the sake of Kenya’s future, the corruption community should not solely be stopped. It should even be crushed.”

With out proof, Odinga additionally linked his opponents to bribery and killing — a critical and controversial allegation provided that two election officers have been discovered useless beneath mysterious circumstances in Kenya’s two most up-to-date elections. No arrests have been made in both case.

A spokeswoman for Kenya’s Impartial Electoral and Boundaries Fee didn’t reply to requests for remark. Ruto, who has 4 days to reply in court docket, had not publicly addressed the lawsuit as of Monday night. He has beforehand referred to as the 4 dissenting commissioners a “aspect present,” but additionally stated that he would respect any authorized course of.

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Kenya’s structure requires that the court docket problem a choice inside two weeks. A ruling in Odinga’s favor may result in the outcomes being nullified and the election rerun, which occurred as lately as 2017. In that election, the Supreme Court docket declared Odinga’s loss to incumbent President Uhuru Kenyatta invalid. Odinga then misplaced the rerun after telling supporters to not vote, citing his continued mistrust within the electoral system.

Macharia Munene, a professor of historical past and worldwide relations at the US Worldwide College in Nairobi, stated Odinga’s determination to take the case to court docket was unsurprising, given his historical past and the closeness of the election — with simply 233,000 votes separating him from Ruto. And he or she stated he had finished the appropriate factor by submitting a authorized problem relatively than calling his supporters to the streets, which has had “a optimistic impact when it comes to cooling the temperatures.”

Regardless of a tense week of ready for outcomes, Kenya has prevented the lethal violence that adopted the 2007 election and the widespread road protests and human rights violations after the 2017 election.

In Mathare, considered one of Nairobi’s largest slums and a web site of vicious road combating in 2007, Monday felt like a principally regular day, in accordance with Lazaro Ojango Omwa, a neighborhood store proprietor. He stated kids had been enjoying and folks had been doing enterprise as typical. The one distinction was that many had been glued to the information.

“Individuals are calm as a result of they don’t need to undergo election violence,” stated Omwa, 48. “We can’t begin destroying issues as a result of it’s our issues we shall be destroying.”

Omwa, a village elder who helps Odinga, stated he and others are patiently ready for a ruling and trust the court docket will ship justice.

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Odinga’s workforce alleges the election fee didn’t tally or confirm ballots from 27 constituencies. The petition additionally claims an absence of transparency and accountability on the tallying middle, citing the pause of publicly displayed election outcomes and conflicting statements from Chebukati about voter turnout.

This time round, Odinga should meet a better bar to show the election outcomes invalid, Munene stated, particularly provided that the race was among the many most clear in Kenya’s historical past, with outcomes from polling stations uploaded to a web-based portal. Kenya’s Election Statement Group, which incorporates civil society and faith-based teams and deployed observers throughout the nation, additionally stated that the official projections are consistent with its personal.

To ensure that Odinga’s case to achieve success, he should present that there have been both “substantial noncompliance with the structure or electoral legislation or that there have been important illegalities and irregularities that affected the outcomes,” constitutional lawyer Waikwa Wanyoike stated.

“Presidential petitions are at all times very, very dicey for the court docket,” he stated. “There isn’t any place the court docket can give you and also you say it’s an outright win for the court docket. … Having stated that, I feel it’s at all times a possibility to strengthen the establishment.”

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