ByJames Wafula in Nairobi.
Kenya’s Azimio coalition of former Prime Minister Raila Odinga, 77, has rejected results of the August 9, 2022 poll announced by IEBC Chairman Mr Wafula Chebukati declaring Deputy President Hon. William Ruto, 55, winner of the hotly contested poll.
Azimio claimed the poll was riddled with massive anomalies as later alleged by four IEBC commissioners who distanced themselves from results that were announced at the Bomas of Kenya national tallying centre.
The split IEBC commisioners led by the Vice Chairman Ms Juliana Cherere promised to issue a comprehensive press statement and did not allow questions.
The split gives a flying start to Azimio’s planned court petition at the Supreme Court which has to be heard and determined withing 10 days.
But there is growing “election fatigue” among supporters of the 77-year old opposition leader who since 2007 has kept claiming that his victory has been stolen.
The man widely referred to as “Baba” was widely expected to win this election enjoying support of the incumbent outgoing President Uhuru Kenyatta who had vigorously rooted for Raila to succeed him in the August 9, 2022 poll.
But there were disappointing election results for Odinga as the vast vote rich mount Kenya region opted to vote for Ruto denying Raila the envisaged 40 percent that he needed as swing votes to clinch victory.
Bleak disappointment descended on Uhuru-Raila supporters in central Kenya after the president even lost in his own home village of Gatundu primary school where he voted.
Rumours had done the rounds since results transmission started coming in the night that Raila was leading by a wide margin but criss-crossing results later put paid to premature celebrations by Baba supporters.
There were early celebrations in Kondele, Kisumu, and parts of Nairobi with many categorical that there was no way Raila would lose the election, his 5th attempt so far.
Indeed in Kisumu the home-turf of Odinga many residents appealed for calm saying they need peace to put food on the table saying any disagreements on the election process should now move to the Supreme Court as clearly outlined in the constitution.
Kisumu residents told the Workers Eye that they would not engage in any protest demonstrations as they want peace and are tied of “dying every election circle through disputed elections.”
But what went wrong for Odinga, he had almost everything working for him including the entire state machinery through devolved government units, the public service, and even security apparatus?
Many will be pondering at this surprise outcome of Kenya’s election after several opinion polls tipped Odinga as the likely winner right up to D-day with even some top aides preparing for his swearing in ceremony.
Eyes will now turn to the court which will be Odinga’s third presidential election petition in the five times he has run and lost the presidency, always coming so close then losing it at the eleventh hour.
According to IEBC data Raila was leading until the evening of Saturday August 13 only for Ruto to edge past the former Prime Minister by 4 am on Sunday consolidating his win that extended to Monday August 14.
Azimio campaign secretariat started raising the red flag with its top official causing drama in the Bomas counting hall when he claimed it had become “a scene of crime”.
Overralassessment reports of Kenya’s 2022 elections, one of the most closely watched in Africa, were still being awaited from international independent election observers who have been closely following the voting, counting, and tallying spending several sleepless nights.
The Election Observer Group (ELOG) told a media briefing that IEBC had widely delivered a free, fair and verifiable election with negligible margin of error. ELOG said while more needed to be done improve efficiency of and integrity of IEBC, it had by far and wide done well and the results were easily authenticated. ELOG promised to issue a comprehensive blow by blow report on Kenya’s 2022 election, one of the world’s most expensive on voter per cost basis■
Kwanza Presidential candidate Dr William Ruto (in blue jacket) holds certificate after IEBC declared him winner