Kenya’s Odinga vows to pursue ‘legal options’ over defeat

August 17, 2022 12:00 am | Updated 05:39 am IST - Nairobi

A five-time candidate, he vows to contest the results of the presidential polls he was touted to win

Kenya’s defeated presidential candidate Raila Odinga vowed on Tuesday to pursue “all constitutional and legal options” after rejecting the outcome of elections that awarded victory to his rival William Ruto.

The 77-year-old veteran politician branded the result of the August 9 race a “travesty” but stopped short of explicitly announcing that he would mount a challenge at the Supreme Court.

“I do not want to fully address our strategies going forward but... we will be pursuing all constitutional and legal options available to us,” Mr. Odinga said.

Mr. Odinga narrowly lost his fifth bid for the top job to Deputy President Ruto.

Poll body divided

Subsequently, divisions emerged in the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), which issued the results.

Mr. Odinga lost by around 2,30,000 votes despite the weight of the ruling party machinery behind him.

Four of the IEBC’s seven commissioners disowned the results.

Vice chair Julia Cherera said at a press conference on Tuesday that the aggregated percentages of the votes for the four presidential candidates was 100.01% — a “mathematical absurdity”.

Analysts however said the discrepancy could be explained by rounding up the percentages.

Zaynab Mohamed, political analyst at Oxford Economics, said Mr. Odinga lost despite the odds being stacked in his favour. “He essentially had all the support he needed to secure a victory, except that of majority of the people,” she added.

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