A section of Kenyans has demanded that defeated Azimio movement leader Raila Odinga accept the election results and that the country move on.
Odinga stated in a press conference on Tuesday that the results announced by the Independent Election and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) chairperson Wafula Chebukati on Monday are null and void, and he therefore rejects them.
He said that, “what we saw (on Monday) was a travesty and a blatant disregard of the Constitution and the laws of Kenya by Chebukati and a minority of IEBC Commissioners.”
The Azimio Movement argued that Chebukati and a “tiny” minority of commissioners have no legal authority to take weighty decisions and proclaim them as the rulings of the IEBC.
However, some Kenyans believe that the country should move on so that people can return to work.
Mugambi Nandi, a corporate Kenyan lawyer based in the United Kingdom, stated that he campaigned for Odinga and flew in to vote for him, and that he believes Odinga was the better man for the job, but that there is no strong evidence to prove claims that Odinga was cheated. He said that Odinga should move on.
“Raila Odinga, Martha Karua, I campaigned very hard for you. I flew in from the UK to vote for you. Though I believe you were the better team, I haven’t seen a credible challenge to the numbers tallied from 34A forms. I think it’s in the country’s best interest that you concede,” Mugambi said.
Josiah Mulama, a taxi driver in Nairobi who voted for Odinga, also said that he thinks the veteran politician has been unlucky to get elected into office and should now retire.
“He should just accept the results. I voted for him, but I don’t want the court to change the results,” he said.
Some have urged Odinga to continue and let the court decide, claiming that the election was rigged and that justice should be served.
“I support Baba [Odinga], whatever he says is correct,” Kisumu resident John Onyango tells The Africa Report.
“Odinga’s sentiments have cooled us down; we now rely on the courts to invalidate Ruto’s illegal win,” says another supporter, George Ajowi.
After days of nail-biting and anxiety, the IEBC announced Ruto as Kenya’s new president on Monday evening, following a closely contested race.
According to the results announced by Chebukati, Ruto received 50.49% of the vote to Odinga’s 48.85%.
A few minutes earlier, four IEBC officials, led by Chebukati’s deputy, held a press conference at the Serena Hotel to distance themselves from the results, stating that they disagreed with how the final stages of the results were handled.
Odinga, in his Tuesday address said that his camp understands that the IEBC had agreed on the tally of the Presidential results but barely two hours to his announcement, Chebukati called a meeting and revealed to the commissioners different results which he was going to announce.
“We know what happened. The figures announced by Chebukati are null and void and must be quashed by a court of law,” Odinga said.
The rejection of the election results is a slap in the face to President-elect William Ruto, who had offered to work with Odinga in accordance with Kenya’s constitution.
Ruto told journalists after the results were announced on Monday that the country needed a strong opposition and that he hoped Raila Odinga would take ‘his position’ as opposition leader.
Odinga stated that a government that lacks opposition may be unaccountable.
“My competitors have a role to play, I will work with my competitors in the role that the constitution assigns the people in the opposition,” Ruto said.
“They will provide oversight over my government and I intend to work with them in that capacity. I never believed in the handshake because I believe in a government that has checks and balances.”
Civil society observers, police, religious leaders and others had described this election as fair and peaceful.