Home WORLD AFRICA Kenya: loser Raila Odinga rejects presidential results

Kenya: loser Raila Odinga rejects presidential results

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Six days after the August 9 election, marked by calm despite growing impatience, outgoing Vice-President Ruto was declared the winner on Monday evening with 50.49% of the vote against 48.85% for Raila Odinga, by an Electoral Commission shaken by internal divisions.

The eyes of the country were now on the now regime-backed opposition veteran, who, at 77, was competing for the fifth time and remained invisible and silent since Monday.

From his headquarters, Raila Odinga, wearing a large blue hat – the color of his coalition – firmly rejected these results, among the tightest in the country’s history (a difference of some 233,000 votes).

What we witnessed yesterday is a travesty and a clear disregard for the Constitutionhe said, calling on his supporters to calm down and assuring that he would continue all legal options available.

We will do so in view of the many flaws in the electionshe added, without going so far as to promise an appeal to the Supreme Court.

Odinga is however familiar with these appeals, which he has already filed in 2013, then 2017, when the Supreme Court invalidated the presidential election due toirregularitiesa first in Africa.

In 2007, an election also very close, Odinga had also, without going to court, refused the result, which had triggered the worst post-election crisis in the history of the country, with more than 1,100 dead in inter-ethnic clashes.

Transparency and democracy

Ruto, who held the role of challenger in this election, was declared Monday fifth president of Kenya since independence in 1963. He is the second president of his community, the Kalenjin, to take up this post.

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The 55-year-old wealthy businessman immediately assured that he would work with all leaders policies, promising a country transparent, open and democratic.

The announcement of the results triggered violent demonstrations on Monday evening, but localized in strongholds of Odinga, including working-class areas of Nairobi and Kisumu where calm had returned on Tuesday.

Raila’s word is law in this part of the countryassures Abel Tom, a 48-year-old businessman who wants to believe thatthere will be no more violence in Kisumu town. People will be inspired by the Prime Minister’s statement Raila Odinga.

But many businesses remain closed and the economy has been sluggish since the vote a week ago, raising public impatience.

William Ruto.

Outgoing vice-president William Ruto was declared the winner on Monday evening with 50.49%.

Photo: Getty Images/Ed Ram

The campaign was notably dominated by the soaring cost of living, especially of basic commodities, with East Africa’s economic powerhouse being hit hard by the effects of the pandemic and the war in Ukraine. Ruto had made this theme his hobbyhorse.

For his part, Raila Odinga, who had notably undertaken to reform the country and fight against corruption, had received valuable support from the outgoing president, Uhuru Kenyatta, and from the party in power.

He basically had all the support he needed to snatch victory, except for the majority of people.deciphered Zaynab Mohamed, a political analyst for Oxford Economics.

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Crack in the Electoral Commission

The Election Observation Group (ELOG), an association which has been monitoring the smooth running of votes since 2010, said on Tuesday that its calculations agreed with the results of theIEBCwith 50.7% for Ruto and 48.7% for Odinga.

On Tuesday afternoon, European Council President Charles Michel tweeted congratulations to President-elect Ruto, and urged in the event of any dispute, to use the existing dispute resolution mechanisms.

The Electoral Commission, although praised by observers for its management on election day, is again this year under intense pressure.

A few minutes before its president announced the results on Monday, four of its seven members dissociated themselves from it, rejecting in a coup de theater a process at the opaque character.

On Tuesday, they detailed their arguments before the press, denouncing in particular a total of percentages reaching 100.01%, a figure described by them asmathematical nonsense.

Analysts including Nic Cheeseman, a professor at the University of Birmingham in the UK and a connoisseur of Kenya, have however pointed out that this discrepancy could be explained by the fact of rounding the percentages.

Expect a lot of controversy. Expect legal action. Expect this to last and last again, said the latter on Twitter.

If it is seized in the coming week, the Supreme Court will have 14 days to render its decision. Otherwise, William Ruto will take office within two weeks.

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