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Raila Odinga calls Kenya election results null and void, demands calm

NAIROBI Kenyan presidential candidate Raila Odinga declared the outcomes of the election null and void and promised to challenge them in court, ignoring demands him to concede to declared winner William Ruto.

Ruto was named the winner of last weeks election by Wafula Chebukati, chair of Kenyas Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), on Monday an announcement marred with allegations of vote-rigging and dissent among commission members on the close-fought race.

The figures announced by Mr. Chebukati are null and void and should be crushed by way of a court of law, Odinga said at a news conference. I wish to commend our supporters for remaining calm and keeping the peace and urge them to keep to take action. Let nobody take regulations to their own hands.

We have been pursuing constitutional and lawful channels and processes to invalidate Mr. Chebukatis illegal and unconstitutional pronouncement, he added.

Kenyas electoral commission announced William Ruto the winner of the presidential election on Aug. 15, however, many senior officials disowned the effect. (Video: Reuters)

His statement raises the specter of violence between his supporters and the winners, which includes marred past elections. Up to now, apart from scattered protests, Kenya has been quiet in the wake of the outcomes.

This is a relief Raila went to court and asked his supporters to be calm and await the courts to choose, said Meron Elias, the analyst for East and Southern Africa at the International Crisis Group think tank. Regardless of the uncertainty, thats a reassuring decision.

Odingas announcement could bring a repeat of Kenyas 2017 election outcome when his campaign challenged incumbent President Uhuru Kenyattas win in the Supreme Court, which continued to declare that vote invalid.

Kenyatta still won the election rerun, however, after Odinga told his supporters never to vote, citing distrust in the electoral body. That period was marred by violent street protests and human rights violations.

On Monday afternoon, because the country waited for the election results, among Odingas top election officials, Saitabao Ole Kanchory, said they had reports the electoral system was penetrated and hacked and that a few of the IEBC officials committed electoral offenses.

Minutes prior to the results were announced, four out of seven of Kenyas electoral commissioners said they might not the stand by position them. In a news conference Tuesday, they said the outcomes were declared by the chair prior to the commissioners all had to be able to consult on the tabulations and objections raised by the parties.

The problem that people have has been the procedure, commissioner Justus Nyangaya said shortly before Odingas news conference. If that’s not dependant on the commissioners, then it remains the work, role and responsibility of only 1 person in the boardroom.

Mondays announcement of a win for Ruto prompted celebrations round the country from his supporters. In Ngong Town, on the outskirts of Nairobi, drivers honked their horns and formed processions on the highway because they celebrated. Meanwhile, in Rutos hometown of Sugoi, people celebrated till late.

In western Kenyas Kisumu City, an Odinga support base, protesters briefly lit tires on the road, blocking the roads with rocks before police dispersed them.

That is likely to be Odingas last attempt at the presidency. It had been the 77-year-olds fifth try for the very best job.

The countrys most serious spate of election violence was included with Odingas 2007 loss to Mwai Kibaki by way of a narrow margin also amid allegations of vote-rigging. Post-election violence left a lot more than 1,000 dead and over 5,000 displaced.

In Kibera, a slum in Nairobi considered a stronghold for Odinga, crowds that had in previous days gathered to view live broadcasts prior to the results had dispersed. The announcement was disappointing; whatever Odinga says is what we shall do, he could be our leader. We trust his judgment for just how forward, said Job Owino, a supporter.

Mercy Wanjiru, 30, a resident of Mathare who was simply displaced through the 2007 post-election violence, said she was happy about Rutos win and was hoping Odinga would concede in order to avoid a repeat of the violence.

We’ve a country to create, she said. It really is now time and energy to heal and move ahead.

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