Raila Odinga calls Kenya election results null and void, calls for calm


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NAIROBI — Kenyan presidential candidate Raila Odinga declared the results of the elections “null and void” and vowed to challenge them in court, ignoring calls for him to yield to declared winner William Ruto.

Ruto was declared the winner of last week’s election by Wafula Chebukati, chairman of the Kenyan Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) on Monday.

“The figures announced by Mr. Chebukati are null and void and must be quashed by a court,” Odinga said at a news conference. “I want to commend our supporters for their calm and keeping the peace, and I urge them to continue to do so. Let no one take the law into their own hands.”

“We are following constitutional and legal channels and processes to invalidate Mr Chebukati’s illegal and unconstitutional ruling,” he added.

William Ruto declared winner of Kenyan presidential election

His statement raises the specter of violence between his supporters and those of the winner, which has marred recent elections. So far, apart from scattered protests, Kenya has been silent after the results.

Odinga’s announcement could be a repeat of Kenya’s 2017 election results, when his campaign challenged incumbent President Uhuru Kenyatta’s victory in the Supreme Court, which subsequently annulled the vote.

Kenyatta, however, still won the re-election election after Odinga told his supporters not to vote due to mistrust of the electoral body. That period was marred by violent street protests and human rights violations.

On Monday afternoon, as the country awaited election results, one of Odinga’s top election officials, Saitabao Ole Kanchory, said they had reports that the electoral system had been “penetrated and hacked” and that “some IEBC officials have committed election crimes.”

Minutes before the results were announced, four of Kenya’s seven electoral commissioners said they would not support it. In a press conference Tuesday, they said the results had been announced by the chairman before the commissioners had a chance to discuss the parties’ tables and objections.

“The problem we have is with the process,” Commissioner Justus Nyang’aya said shortly before Odinga’s press conference. “If that is not determined by the commissioners, then it remains the job, role and responsibility of just one person in the boardroom.”

The announcement of a victory for Ruto on Monday caused a celebration of his supporters across the country. In Ngong Town, on the outskirts of Nairobi, drivers honked and formed processions on the road as they celebrated. Meanwhile, in Ruto’s hometown of Sugoi, people celebrated until late.

In western Kenya’s Kisumu City, a stronghold of Odinga, protesters briefly put tires on the streets and blocked the roads with stones before police dispersed them.

Kenyans go to polls in hard-fought, closely monitored elections

This is expected to be Odinga’s last attempt at the presidency. It was the 77-year-old’s fifth attempt at the top job.

The most serious wave of election violence in the country came with Odinga’s 2007 loss to Mwai Kibaki by a narrow margin – also amid allegations of voter fraud. Post-election violence left more than 1,000 dead and more than 5,000 displaced.

In Kibera, a Nairobi slum that is considered a stronghold for Odinga, crowds that had gathered in recent days to watch live broadcasts ahead of the results had dispersed. “The announcement was disappointing; whatever Odinga says, we will, he is our leader. We rely on his judgment for the way forward,” said Job Owino, a supporter.

Mercy Wanjiru, 30, a Mathare resident displaced during the post-election violence in 2007, said she was pleased with Ruto’s victory and hoped Odinga would give in to prevent a repeat of the violence.

“We have a country to build on,” she said. “Now is the time to heal and move on.”

The Valley Voice
The Valley Voicehttp://thevalleyvoice.org
Christopher Brito is a social media producer and trending writer for The Valley Voice, with a focus on sports and stories related to race and culture.


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