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Kenya's Odinga Challenges Presidential Poll Result in Supreme Court

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Kenya's opposition leader and presidential candidate Raila Odinga, of the Azimio La Umoja (Declaration of Unity) One Kenya Alliance, waves to his supporters after he filed a petition challenging the presidential election result at the Supreme Court in Nai

Kenya’s former prime minister and opposition leader Raila Odinga filed a challenge Monday with the country's Supreme Court against election results that saw him lose the presidency by a slim margin.

Odinga led supporters of his political coalition and lawyers armed with thousands of documents to the court in central Nairobi, where they submitted their request asking the Supreme Court to overturn election that made William Ruto president-elect.

Speaking after filing the petition, Odinga said the country’s electoral system was compromised.

"Kenyans and those who followed our campaigns will recall fighting and ending corruption in Kenya was a core agenda throughout our campaign as Azimio la Umoja, One Kenya Coalition Party," Odinga said. "The presidential results announced last week represent the continuing struggle pitting the forces for democracy and good governance against the corruption cartels that are so determined that they will stop at nothing to take control of the government and this country."

Odinga’s legal team filed documents they say will show the August 9 presidential election was rigged in favor of Ruto, who in the official results garnered 7.1 million votes, compared to 6.9 million for Odinga.

One of Odinga’s lawyers, James Orengo, expressed confidence in having successful days ahead in court.

"I have participated in many petitions," he said. "This one, I can tell you, is a bombshell and we have so many smoking guns and I think at the conclusion of this petition, you are going to have a determination in favor of Raila Amolo Odinga."

Odinga accused the electoral commission of electoral offenses and malpractices.

"The corruption cartels are prepared to compromise the electoral system, bribe electoral officials, make the security system look the other way or even kill in order to find their way to power and their ill-gotten wealth and continue stealing from the public," Odinga said. "We believe this is what happened in this election."

The electoral commission and President-elect Ruto will have four days to respond to the allegations leveled against them.

Kenya's President-elect William Ruto addresses a news conference at his official residence in Karen district of Nairobi, Kenya, Aug. 17, 2022.
Kenya's President-elect William Ruto addresses a news conference at his official residence in Karen district of Nairobi, Kenya, Aug. 17, 2022.

The chairman of the electoral commission previously said the commission followed the law in conducting the August 9 election. Ruto said last week he will defend his election victory in court.

Odinga succeeded in challenging the results of the 2017 presidential election. That year, the Supreme Court nullified the results, citing technical breaches of the law, and ordered a new election. Odinga withdrew from that vote, and President Uhuru Kenyatta won a second term.

Orengo, who was part of Odinga's legal team that year, says they may seek more than nullification this time around.

"We have got a cocktail of orders we want from the court, but we could have a rerun if the court so orders, but we think we have circumstances in which the court can actually re-tally the forms 34As, 34Bs and take a count and determine a person who really won the election," he said.

The seven Supreme Court judges are led by Kenya's first female chief justice, Martha Koome, appointed in May 2021.

The court has two weeks to issue a ruling on the petition.

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