Kenya's Odinga mounts court challenge to presidential poll result

Monday - 22/08/2022 14:26
Dozens of boxes of evidence were unloaded from a truck outside the Supreme Court
Hundreds of Odinga supporters gathered outside the court on Monday, blowing whistles and waving placa
Hundreds of Odinga supporters gathered outside the court on Monday, blowing whistles and waving placa

Kenya's defeated presidential candidate Raila Odinga filed a petition to the country's top court Monday, challenging the outcome of the August 9 election in what he called a fight for "democracy and good governance".

Odinga, a veteran opposition leader who ran with the backing of President Uhuru Kenyatta and the ruling party, has rejected the outcome of the poll that delivered victory to his rival William Ruto, branding it a "travesty".

Hundreds of supporters cheered as dozens of boxes of evidence were unloaded from a truck outside the Supreme Court.

The outcome of the poll represented a "continuing struggle pitting the forces for democracy and good governance against the corruption cartels that... will stop at nothing to take control of government," he said, without giving specific details.

Although polling day passed off peacefully, the announcement of the results a week ago sparked angry protests in some Odinga strongholds and there are fears a drawn-out dispute may lead to violence in a country with a history of post-poll unrest.

According to a copy of the 72-page petition seen by AFP, Odinga's team alleges that IEBC chairman Wafula Chebukati failed to tally around 140,000 votes.

Judges now have 14 days to issue a ruling. If they order an annulment, a new vote must be held within 60 days.

Odinga supporters began gathering outside the court hours before his arrival, blowing whistles and waving placards reading "Electoral Justice Now!" and "We want justice now". 

Another man -- armed with a Bible and wearing huge green glasses -- knelt down in prayer as police guarded the court premises.

The IEBC was under heavy pressure to deliver a clean vote after facing sharp criticism over its handling of the August 2017 election, which was also challenged by Odinga.

In a shock development shortly before the results of this year's poll were announced, four of the IEBC's seven commissioners accused chairman Chebukati of running an "opaque" operation and later said the numbers did not add up.

- Divided opinion -

Odinga has previously said he was cheated of victory in the 2007, 2013 and 2017 elections, and the poll's aftermath is being keenly watched as a test of democratic maturity in the East African powerhouse.

Since the results were declared, Odinga has commended his supporters for "remaining calm" while Ruto has taken a conciliatory tone and promised to "work with all leaders".

If the Supreme Court upholds the results, Ruto will become Kenya's fifth president since independence from Britain in 1963, taking the reins of a country battling inflation, high unemployment and a crippling drought.

Author: Editors Desk

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 Keywords: Kenya

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