Kenya opposition leader rejects election result as ‘null and void’

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The Guardian

The Kenyan opposition leader, Raila Odinga, rejected as “null and void” the result of a presidential election he was declared to have lost, adding that Kenya’s democracy faced a long legal crisis.

His first comments on the result came minutes after four of the seven election commissioners said on Tuesday they stood by their decision a day earlier to disown the result of the presidential poll, saying the final tallying process had been “opaque”.

“Our view is that the figures announced by [the electoral commission chair, Wafula] Chebukati are null and void and must be quashed by court of law,” Odinga, who was making his fifth run for the presidency, told a news conference.

He broadcast the dissenting commission members’ news conference at his own venue before taking the stage.

Speaking for the group, the electoral commission deputy chair, Juliana Cherera, said the results that gave the deputy president, William Ruto, a wafer-thin victory over Odinga were erroneously aggregated. She said the elections had been conducted in a proper manner.

Chebukati declared Ruto the winner on Monday with 50.49% of the vote against Odinga’s 48.5%. Minutes earlier his deputy, Cherera, told media at a separate location that she and three other commissioners disowned the results.

The dramatic events of Monday have raised fears of violence such as that seen after previous disputed polls.

In 2017, more than 100 people were killed after the supreme court overturned the result citing anomalies in the voting process. A decade earlier, more than 1,200 people were killed in widespread violence after the 2007 presidential vote.

With memories still fresh of post-election bloodshed in usually stable Kenya, Odinga has faced calls from home and abroad to commit to resolving any concerns over the election outcome in the courts.

August 16, 2022 at 07:29PM Reuters

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