Raila Odinga rejects Kenya’s Presidential election results

By James Wafula in Nairobi.

Kenya’s August 9, 2022 Presidential election results were thrown into a fresh spin after the main loser former Prime Minister Raila Amolo Odinga rejected the results terming them a mockery of democracy and a nullity that he would challenge using constitutional and legal means.

Reacting for the first time since Kenya’s electoral commission (IEBC) declared Deputy President William Ruto of Kenya Kwanza President-elect by the commission Chairman Mr Wafula Chebukati, Raila of Azimio la umoja coalition scoffed at the announcement saying “democracy had suffered a serious setback” accusing the chairman of riding roughshod over other members of the commission to declare “illegal” results.

Raila referred to other four commissioners led by Vice Chairperson Ms Juliana Cherere who walked out on Chebukati allegedly for refusing to collate critical data that could have led to a different result saying the figures announced at Bomas tallying centre “did not add up to 100 percent”.

Chererer claimed the figures in total were above 100 percent with 0.016 in excess translating to more than 100,000 votes that could have translated into a different result in the final tally of the closely contested race won by Dr. Ruto, 55, by a small margin.

This is the first time in Kenya’s troubled electoral history that the electoral commission is divided with the Chairman leading three others while his deputy has four who constitute a majority. But Chebukati insisted while reading the results  that the constitution recognizes him as the only national returning officer mandated to collate, tally and announce the final result of the presidential election.

Kenyans battling an increasingly harsh economy will now have to  brave another round of court battle with the expected election tension as the two main presidential contestants shift their bitter rivalry into court corridors with high chances of the election outcome being nullified and a fresh poll ordered within 60 days. This would mean the whole of 2022 being a year of elections with possible Kenyatta successor being sworn in around October if the Supreme Court agrees with Odinga and nullifies the results.

IEBC Chairman has constantly complained of a poor budget and has had roundly tried to avoid any possibility of re-run saying the election, one of the world’s most expensive per voter-cost had to end this month.

Cherere meanwhile also addressed a press conference at which she roundly rejected the results making Ruto President-Elect saying the figures did not add up that the process had become “opaque” at the last stage.

She claimed Chebukati had roundly refused to listen to issues raised over conflicting figures and final vote tally of the presidential race and had gone ahead to declare Ruto winner.

But Chebukati dismissed the claims saying the August 9, 2022 election was the most transparent with Forms 34A easily accessible to the public, media and observers on IEBC portal online and all you required was a calculator to add up the figures and compare them.

As the battle moves to court its likely that many economic activities and school calender will again stall as the country awaits the verdict of the Supreme Court whose President is Ms  Martha Koome.

The judiciary has in the recent past been critical of the Executive under President Uhuru Kenyatta who openly supported Odinga in the recent election but his mount Kenya home-turf roundly voted for Ruto.

A bitter Raila flanked by his running-mate Ms Martha Karua has called on his supporters to exercise restrain and remain calm saying the country would keep the peace as legal processes are pursued to ensure the Ruto victory is nullified.

President Uhuru Kenyatta who has not appeared in public since the poll concluded will now continue in office until the court concludes the petition and allow for either a fresh election, declaring Odinga as the winner or swearing in of Ruto as the fifth President.

This will be a near repeat of 2013-2017 elections which handed victory to Uhuru, both of which were challenged by opposition leader Raila who lost the first but prevailed in the second after Chief Justice David Maraga overturned Kenyatta’s win and ordered a fresh election in 60 days as per the constitution.

It became the first time in Africa for an incumbent President to have his election victory overturned sparking panic in many capitals. But Odinga boycotted the repeat and on Janaury 31, 2018 swore himself in as “Peoples President” before throwing in the towel on March 9, 2018 in a symbolic handshake political truce with Kenyatta.

Kenyatta has in the recent past roundly lambasted his deputy as unsuitable for high office as he drummed up support for Odinga who is however unpopular with Uhuru’s Kikuyu tribesmen who prefer Ruto and voted for him in massive numbers.

According to sources at the Odinga secretariat that spoke extensively to Workers Eye, the final vote tally would have given Ruto 49.58 while Odinga would gross 49.87 pushing the country into a repeat poll as no one would have garnered the 50+1 threshold to ensure a round one win.

The Azmio legal team is hopping to convince the  seven judges at the supreme court that Mr Ruto did not win the closely contested race. This they say is due to the last minute “stumbling block to democracy” when figures were deliberately left out of the final tally.

The Odinga legal team is said to have no beef with figures collated from Forms 34A at the IEBC public portal that ensured complete transparency of forwarded results from 290 constituencies but only has trouble with the final tally figures that produced Forms 34B and 34C.

IEBC Chairman Wafula Chebukati claims the four dissenting commissioners had been pushing to “moderate results” to allow a re-run between Ruto and Raila at the behest of Azmio.

The soft spoken Chebukati has waved aside claims of mathematical anomalies terming them ‘false and misleading” but Cherere insists Chebukati had bull-dozed the final result to favour Ruto.

The country will again be on edge for the next three weeks as the presidential petition – the  third by Odinga since 2013, is heard and determined. This has now put on hold any plans to have Ruto sworn – in as Kenya’s fifth President succeeding President Uhuru Kenyatta, 62, whose two terms have expired. According to the fire spitting running-mate of Raila Ms Martha Karua, the “victory of Azimio” has only been deferred adding that they will eventually prevail. Azimio has more MPs in the House than Kenya Kwanza with a slim majority. But reports that independent candidates have since joined the Ruto side would give the President-elect superior numbers enough to elect the next speaker.

President Uhuru Kenyatta who has curiously not spoken or appeared in public since the results were announced declaring his deputy winner on Monday August 15, has previously said he could not hand over to his DP due to his alleged “tainted” public image.

Key envoys in Nairobi including the US and Russia have congratulated Ruto and were due to meet the President-Elect for talks. The envoys have urged election losers to seek redress in courts and urge their supporters to remain peaceful.

Many of Odinga’s key supporters who include long serving Central Organisation of Trade Unions (COTU) Secretary General Mr Francis Atwoli had repeatedly claimed Uhuru would not hand over to Ruto. He even had the audacity  to say with a “chest thumped”  that there was no way the DP could defeat Odinga■

IEBC Vice Chairman Ms Juliana Cherere addressing the Kenyan media

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