Odinga challenges Ruto win in Supreme Court

Supporters of Raila Odinga gathered outside the court ahead of the legal petition being filed.

Mr Raila Odinga, who came second in Kenya’s presidential election, has today (Monday) August 22, 2022, gone to court to challenge the result, describing it as “fraudulent”.

In a scathing 70-page legal argument, he alleges there was a pre-planned effort to alter the outcome.

According to the electoral commission, Mr Odinga took 48.8% of the vote, losing to Mr William Ruto’s 50.5%.

An independent monitoring organisation said the commission’s final result was in line with its own projection.

However, four of the seven electoral commissioners refused to endorse the outcome, alleging that the way the final results were tallied was “opaque”.

The seven judges at the Supreme Court will have 14 days to make a ruling.

Mr Odinga’s legal petition, one of more than five handed over, described the alleged attempt to alter the final result as “premeditated, unlawful and criminal”.

It also calls the chairperson of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), Mr Wafula Chebukati, “rogue”, adding that he was involved in the plan to “secure a fraudulent result”.

Mr Odinga raises questions about the tallying process and says that not all the constituency results were announced before the final result was declared.

He also says there is evidence that the results from some polling stations were altered in his opponent’s favour before they were displayed on the IEBC’s web portal.

And he suggests that the voter turnout figure was manipulated so Mr Ruto did not have to go into a second-round run-off.

Speaking after handing the petition over to the Supreme Court, Mr Odinga said “corruption cartels” were undermining democracy, but did not specify who he meant.

This was the fifth time that the 77-year-old had to run for president.

Previously he had been the opposition candidate, but this time he was backed by outgoing President Uhuru Kenyatta.

For the third time in a row he has gone to court to get an outcome overturned.

In 2017, the veteran politician successfully challenged the result of that year’s presidential election, which he lost to Mr Kenyatta, and the Supreme Court ordered a re-run.

The case highlighted logistical issues in the way the results were collated.

However, in 2013 his challenge was dismissed.

The independent Elections Observation Group did its own tally and said its estimates were consistent with what the electoral commission published on their web portal.

A week ago, there were chaotic scenes at the national tallying centre moments before the final result of the 9 August poll was about to be read out.

Some of Mr Odinga’s political allies stormed the stage and scuffles broke out. Two electoral commissioners were injured and four others left the compound to hold a press conference to denounce the outcome.

Nevertheless, Mr Chebukati proceeded with the announcement and handed Mr Ruto the certificate confirming that he was the winner.

The election commission head said he had defied threats to perform his duty of announcing results according to the will of the people, while Mr Ruto hailed him as a “hero”.

Last week, Mr Ruto said he would respect the court process, which is part of the country’s electoral law.

“I’m a democrat. I believe in the rule of law. I respect our institutions,” he told journalists.

BBC

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