Presidential election in Kenya: Odinga challenges the results before the Supreme Court

Raila Odinga officially challenged the results of the Kenyan presidential election on August 9 on Monday in the Supreme Court, which gave him the loser behind outgoing vice-president William Ruto, claiming to have “enough evidence” of his victory.

A historic figure in the opposition supported for this election by outgoing President Uhuru Kenyatta and his party, Odinga had announced his intention to contest the results announced by the electoral commission (IEBC), which he described as a “parody”.

According to these results, he is ahead of Vice-President William Ruto by around 233,000 votes (50.49% against 48.85%).

After an electronic version was transmitted online on Monday morning, the physical copy arrived spectacularly in the presence of Raila Odinga shortly before 1:00 p.m. (10:00 GMT), about an hour before the deadline.

Dozens of boxes of documents were trucked to the High Court in Nairobi, then unloaded in front of the cameras and cheers from Odinga supporters.

“We have enough evidence (showing) that we won the election,” Raila Odinga said a little later from his headquarters.

The veteran Kenyan politician said the appeal was part of his historic fight for democracy against the “corruption cartels” that robbed him of victory – without giving further details.

“The presidential election of 2022 represents the most reckless attempt by this cartel to subvert the will of the electorate. We refuse to let Kenya go in this direction. It must not happen and it will not happen,” a- he launched.

Kenya’s highest court has 14 days to render its decision and, if the poll is annulled, a new election must be held within 60 days.

– Nine appeals filed –

On August 15, the proclamation of the results by the president of the IEBC gave rise to a split within this independent body in charge of organizing the ballot.

Four of the seven commissioners had announced that they were rejecting the results a few minutes before their announcement, criticizing the president of the IEBC, Wafula Chebukati, for his “opaque” management and his lack of consultation.

Mr. Chebukati had rejected these accusations, claiming to have exercised his prerogatives in accordance with the law of the land despite “intimidation and harassment”.

According to the request consulted by AFP, the Odinga camp affirms in particular that no candidate passed the constitutional threshold of 50% of the votes and that the election was marred in a “substantial and significant” way by irregularities.

A total of nine appeals were filed. In addition to that of Mr. Odinga, the others were filed by NGOs and individuals”

– “Electoral justice now” –

The August 9 elections were peaceful, but the announcement of the results sparked brief angry protests in some strongholds of Odinga, Kisumu (west) and the capital.

Observers fear a protracted legal dispute could plunge the country into the post-election turmoil it has experienced in the past.

Since 2002, all presidential elections in Kenya have been contested, sometimes resulting in bloody clashes.

77-year-old Raila Odinga, who was beaten in his four previous presidential bids, is familiar with these legal challenges, which he filed in 2013 and 2017.

In 2017, the Supreme Court invalidated the presidential election due to “irregularities” and ordered the holding of a new election, a first in Africa.

In 2007, Odinga had also, without going to court, refused the result, which had triggered the worst post-election crisis in the country’s history, with more than 1,100 dead in inter-ethnic clashes.

During the election campaign, the two favorites William Ruto and Raila Odinga pledged to resolve any disputes in court rather than on the street.

After the announcement of the results, Odinga praised his supporters for “remaining calm” while Ruto adopted a conciliatory tone and promised to “work with all the leaders”.

If the Supreme Court upholds the results, William Ruto will, at 55, become Kenya’s fifth president since independence in 1963.

Presidential election in Kenya: Odinga challenges the results before the Supreme Court