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Kenya Opposition to 'Inaugurate' Odinga Despite Election Loss


Raila Odinga, center, Kenya's opposition coalition leader, walks out after a press conference in Nairobi at which the coalition has presented proof of alleged fraud in Kenya's August 2017 presidential election in which sitting President Uhuru Kenyatta was declared winner, Jan. 26, 2018.

Kenya's opposition plans to swear-in Raila Odinga as president Tuesday, saying Odinga won the 2017 presidential election over the declared winner, President Uhuru Kenyatta.

The opposition coalition, known as NASA, is using the August 2017 presidential election to justify the inauguration of Odinga as president and his running mate, Kalonzo Musyoka, as deputy president.

Kenyatta had been named the winner of that election, but the Supreme Court overturned the results, saying illegalities were found in the transmission of the totals.

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission, or IEBC, then organized a second election, which Odinga boycotted, giving Kenyatta an easy victory.

FILE - Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, center, is sworn-in accompanied by his wife Margaret, right, and during his inauguration ceremony at Kasarani stadium in Nairobi, Kenya, Nov. 28, 2017.
FILE - Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, center, is sworn-in accompanied by his wife Margaret, right, and during his inauguration ceremony at Kasarani stadium in Nairobi, Kenya, Nov. 28, 2017.

James Orengo, a top opposition coalition official, maintains that Odinga won the August 2017 election by 300,000 votes.

"If anybody had any doubt as to why Raila Odinga should be sworn-in as a president of the Republic of Kenya, if you go through the document, you will come to the conclusion that truly not only was Raila Odinga and his excellency Kalonzo Musyoka elected on the 8th of August 2017, but Kenyans should go ahead and take the position which we have taken," Orengo said.

Opposition lawmaker Godfrey Osotsi stresses that electoral irregularities must come to an end.

"We need to seek for electoral justice," he said. "How do we proceed now and in the future? This country needs serious electoral reforms because this kind of thing cannot be allowed to go on, because we cannot get our people to a polling station to vote only for the results to be stolen."

Opposition leaders are standing firm in their refusal to accept such electoral irregularities, and their refusal to recognize the Kenyatta administration.

"They are trying to make a political statement because there are still issues that are unresolved politically," explained Martin Andati, a Kenyan political commentator. "The legal and constitutional questions about the elections were settled with the swearing-in of President Uhuru. But NASA has got serious issues — electoral issues, questions concerning issues of electoral justice — but you know those are political issues, so those are the questions that are now arising."

Government officials have said an inauguration of Odinga would be an act of treason.

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