Kenyan politician Raila Odinga has said he will challenge the presidential election results in court, making it his fourth time in a row in which he has rejected the outcome of a presidential poll.
Mr Odinga spoke on Tuesday, a day after the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) declared deputy President William Ruto as President-elect in a tight race in which Ruto scored 7,176,141 votes (50.49 percent of the vote cast) against Odinga’s 6,942,930 (48.8 percent). The difference between their votes was 233, 211 votes.
Odinga said his coalition, Azimio la Umoja One Kenya, “totally and without reservation reject the results that were announced yesterday (Monday)” and will use available legal channels to challenge it. Under Kenyan law, only the Supreme Court can overturn results of a presidential contest.
Mr Odinga faulted the IEBC chairman of making a unilateral decision without involving other commissioners.
“We reject the results announced by Mr Chebukati on August 15. We maintain that there was no winner and a president-elect. We are taking legal and constitutional processes to invalidate what Mr Chebukati announced. We urge all Kenyans to stand tall as we seek to advance the ideals of justice that Kenyans stand for,” said Mr Odinga at Nairobi's International Conference Centre.
“Our view is that the figures announced by Mr Chebukati are null and void and must be quashed by a court of law,” he added.
Mr Odinga said that while millions of Kenyans came out to vote on August 9, Mr Chebukati had almost plunged Kenya into a political crisis by failing to follow the constitution and the laws governing the elections.
“We in Azimio La Umoja One Kenya were shocked to learn that Mr Chebukati alone knew the results that he was going to announce without consulting other commissioners. The election law does not allow the chairperson to dictate to other commissioners on the results. Decisions at the commission, according to the law, are taken either through consensus or through voting,” said Mr Odinga.
One hour prior to the announcement of the results at Nairobi’s cultural centre known as Bomas of Kenya, which was the national tallying centre, four commissioners—out of the total 7—led by the IEBC vice-chairperson Juliana Cherera, announced at the Serena Hotel that they were not going to own the results announced by Chebukati because there was no verification and discussions on how the chairman alone arrived at the figures.
Mr Chebukati maintained that he had announced the results after compiling the results of Forms 34As that were in the public portal. Forms 34A contain the results of the 290 constituencies, that are later tabulated into form 34C that show the results of the presidential candidates.
But Ms Cherera maintained that Mr Chebukati showed the other commissioners the tabulated results on 34C a few hours to the announcement, and refused any discussion on the verification of the results.
Mr Odinga said that Mr Chebukati’s actions had negated the gains of Kenya’s democracy and that the country faces a constitutional and political crisis. “If it were not for the peace loving nature of the Kenyan people, the country could have plunged into chaos,” he said.