Kenya's defeated presidential candidate Raila Odinga speaks during a press conference at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre (KICC) in Nairobi on August 16, 2022. (AFP)
Joseph Kizza
Senior Producer - Digital Content @New Vision


Azimio la Umoja leader Raila Odinga on Tuesday announced that, as a coalition, they have rejected the presidential vote results announced by the chairman of Kenya's electoral commission, Wafula Chebukati, on Monday.

Calling the results "null and void", he said they will pursue legal options.

Raila was narrowly beaten in a closely-battled race by his main challenger, Kenya Kwanza alliance leader William Ruto, 55.

President-elect William Ruto and his deputy-elect Rigathi Gachagua

President-elect William Ruto and his deputy-elect Rigathi Gachagua

Ruto is now set to become Kenya's fifth president after being declared winner of the August 9 general election by Chebukati, following a series of dramatic events at the Bomas-based national tallying centre in Nairobi that saw the announcement delayed for three hours (from the earlier communicated 3pm to 6pm).

But Raila and his camp are crying foul.

In his first public comments about the result, the 77-year-old former prime minister said that "yesterday, our budding democracy suffered a major setback", adding that they rejected Chebukati's "illegal and unconstitutional pronouncement".

"What we saw was a travesty and blatant disregard of the constitution of Kenya by Mr. Chebukati and a minority of IEBC commissioners," said Odinga, who was flanked by his running mate Martha Karua.

Addressing a full room at the Kenya International Conference Centre (KICC) in Nairobi, Odinga said that they were "shocked to learn that Mr. Chebukati alone pronounced himself " on the final election result.

He claimed that the IEBC chairman only informed the other commissioners of the final outcome two hours before the announcement and that "he did not entertain a discussion of the results", forcing a walkout of four IEBC commissioners, including vice-chairperson Juliana Cherera.

He hailed the "heroism" of the four and urged them not to fear the consequences of their action.

"The figures announced by Mr Chebukati are null and void and must be coached by a court of law".

In his message, Odinga urged his supporters to remain peaceful as they (Azimio leaders) pursue all the legal options open to them.

According to Kenyan law, any challenge to the official election result must be made within seven days, and that appeal is to the Supreme Court, which is Kenya's highest court.

The Supreme Court then has 14 days to issue a ruling. Only when it has ordered an annulment must a new election be conducted within 60 days.

Odinga - the son of Kenya's first vice-president Jaramogi Oginga Odinga - and Ruto, who, until his election to the top seat was serving as deputy president, were battling it out to replace Uhuru Kenyatta, whose two-term limit has come to an end.

Kenyatta, whose father Jomo Kenyatta was Kenya's first president, had sided with his former foe Odinga after falling out with Ruto during their partnership at the helm.

On his first shot at the presidency, Ruto triumphed with 7,176,141 votes (50.49%).

Five-time presidential candidate Odinga, his main challenger in a four-way race, got 6,942,930 votes (48.85%).

Roots Party's Prof. George Wajackoyah was third with 61,969 votes (0.44%).

Agano Party's David Mwaure Waihiga, who conceded defeat on the eve of the final results announcement, got 31,987 votes (0.23%).

Part of poll was 'opaque' - breakaway IEBC team

Just before Monday's announcement, the four IEBC commissioners, including vice-chairperson Juliana Cherera, were not at Bomas. Instead, they were at Serena Hotel in Nairobi to address a press conference.

Leading the breakaway team, here is what Cherera said (verbatim):

"Good evening. As you can see, part of the [IEBC] commissioners are here because this is what we want to say. We have done the 2022 general election in the most effective and efficient manner.

"We have ensured that all the challenges have been contained....we have ensured that we have improved the standards. And we have ensured that we have consistently communicated what is happening. We have partnered with all stakeholders and we say for a fact, that as a commission, we have done a good job. But some things need to be put out there.

"As you can see, the four of us, we are here, not at Bomas of Kenya [national tallying centre], where the result is going to be announced because of the opaque nature of how this phase has been handled.

"We, therefore, cannot take ownership on the result that is going to be announced. However, we have an open door that people can go to court and because of the same, we urge Kenyans to be peaceful because the rule of the law is going to prevail. Thank you."

When pressed for clarity, Cherera said they would provide details later.

She tweeted: "IEBC chairman Chebukati is temperament to be able to be a leader, but he is a leader under a siege. More updates to follow."

The following day (Tuesday), the four commissioners addressed a follow-up press conference - again at Serena Hotel in Nairobi.

Meanwhile, a number of African presidents have already sent congratulatory messages to President-elect Ruto.

Here are some of them:

President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda 🇺🇬

President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa 🇿🇦 

President Evariste Ndayishimiye of Burundi 🇧🇮

President Paul Kagame of Rwanda 🇷🇼

President Samia Suluhu of Tanzania 🇹🇿

President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria 🇳🇬


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