Kenya presidential hopeful Odinga vows court challenge after defeat at polls

Kenya AP - Ben Curtis
AUG 16, 2022 LISTEN
AP - Ben Curtis

Five-time Kenya presidential candidate and veteran politician Raila Odinga on Tuesday told his supporters he would fight his defeat at the ballot box in court, a day after the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) announced William Ruto as the winner.

“We reject the presidential result,” Odinga said as he addressed a crowd at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre in Nairobi, one week after the elections were carried out in a peaceful manner.

“Kenyan democracy has suffered a major setback and faces a long legal crisis. Yesterday was a travesty and blatant disregard of the constitution.”

Calling out the IEBC and its “political biases” he commended the four IEBC commissioners who distanced themselves from the official results, saying the final process was “opaque”.

'Justice will prevail'
Kenyans were commended for a peaceful day of voting, and while the country had remained tense while waiting six days to hear who would be the new president, a few pockets of violence broke out after the result was announced.

Odinga told his followers, without going into detail, that he would be pursuing legal means, stressing that violence would not be acceptable.

His running mate Martha Karua alluded to that on Twitter after Ruto was declared the winner, stating, "It is not over until it is over".

“Let no one take the law into their own hands. We are certain justice will prevail,” Odinga said.

Karua, a lawyer, was a positive force in the 2022 elections, running for the second-highest top job.

Women made big strides at the polls, increasing their list of elected officials to seven governors, three senators and 26 MPs.

Kenyans voted with six ballots on 9 August, choosing a new president as well as senators, governors, lawmakers, women representatives and some 1,500 county officials.

Vote tally
According to the Kenya-based Elections Observation Group (ELOG), which is made up of faith-based and civil society members, the tallies that their 1,000 members made with their Parallel Vote Tabulation (PVT) system were in line with the IEBC final tally.

“ELOG's PVT estimates are consistent with IEBC's official results for the 2022 presidential election,” their statement said.

“In light of our assessment of the Election Day processes and given that IEBC figures fall within the projected ranges, the PVT projections, therefore, corroborates the official results.”

Poll head murder
While Kenya remained largely peaceful during the and after the election, the body of missing IEBC official for the Embakasi East polling station (Nairobi) Daniel Mbolu Musyoka was found in the forest in Kajiado, on the outskirts of Nairobi.

His sisters identified the body.
"It is evident that the victim was killed elsewhere and the body dumped in the valley. The body has scars indicating torture before the death. He possibly died a painful death,” police chief Kipruto Ruto told the local press.