The runner-up in Kenya’s just-concluded presidential election has rejected the result, saying the announcement of the winner was illegal. Raila Odinga cited a split in the electoral commission and the chairman’s failure to explain how he came up with the final numbers.
Addressing elected governors, members of parliament and politicians allied to his Azimio Coalition, Raila Odinga on Tuesday rejected the presidential results.
“The figures announced by Chebukati are null and void and must be couched by a court of law," Odinga said. "In our view there is neither a legally, validly declared winner nor a president-elect. Mr. Chebukati's announcement purporting to announce a winner is a nullity.”
Odinga said the head of the electoral commission, Wafula Chebukati, did not follow the constitution and the electoral law when declaring the winner.
Chebukati on Monday declared William Ruto as Kenya’s president-elect, saying Ruto won 7.1 million votes, while Odinga got 6.9 million.
The chair's decision to announce the winner over their objections angered the majority of the commissioners, including his deputy.
The vice chair of the commission Juliana Cherera said Tuesday the tallying process was not transparent.
“The tallying phase at the end, that there was opaqueness things were not being shown to the public," Cherera said. "You’ve been there even at Bomas and the screens were supposed to show accumulative numbers of the presidential candidates’ votes as the garnered, as we continued to read the results, the same was not displayed to the public. And the same was not given to the commissioners, just like the public was not aware. The same, the commissioners were not aware.”
Cherera said the numbers did not add up.
"This summation gives us a total of 100.01 percent. The 0.01 percent translates to approximately 142,000 votes which will make a significant difference in the final results," Cherera said. "We, therefore, decline to take ownership of the said results because the aggregation resulted in a total exceeding the percentage of 100 which cast doubt on the accuracy of the source of figures."
It was not clear if Cherea misspoke, as 0.01 percent would translate to only 1,420 votes.
The election dispute has raised fears Kenya may see violence of the kind that has happened after other elections.
On Monday, the body of election presiding officers who went missing last week was found in Kajiado County.
Odinga on Tuesday called for calm and said his team will go through legal means to address their dissatisfaction with the election outcome.
“I want to commend our supporters for remaining calm and keeping the peace and urge them to continue to do so. Let no one take the law into their own hands," Odinga said. "We are passing through lawful and constitutional processes to invalidate Mr. Chebukati's illegal and unconstitutional pronouncement. We are certain that justice will prevail.”
Odinga has until Sunday to lodge his case at the Supreme Court, which could take up to two weeks to give a final verdict.
Last week’s election was the former prime minister's fifth attempt to win the presidency.