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Raila Odinga, The Unsuccessful Kenyan Presidential Candidate, Challenges His Election Defeat In Court

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On Monday, after six days of interminable waiting for the 50 million Kenyans, the chairman of the Independent Electoral Commission (IEBC), an independent body deeply divided, announced the victory of William Ruto with 50.49% of the votes against 48.85% for Raila Odinga. Mr Odinga rejected the results on Tuesday. The historic opponent Raila Odinga, the unsuccessful candidate in last week’s Kenyan presidential election, announced on Saturday that he would appeal to the courts after the results of the election, which he described as a “joke” after the victory of the incumbent Vice-President William Ruto.

“We want justice to be done so that peace can be found,” Odinga said Saturday from his Nairobi home after a meeting with religious leaders.

“We have decided to use the law to go to the Supreme Court (…) to show that this was not an election but a joke,” he added.

The election marks a fifth presidential defeat for Mr Odinga, even though his candidacy was backed this year by incumbent President Uhuru Kenyatta and the ruling party.

No presidential election in Kenya has been free of contestation since 2002, and disputes have sometimes led to bloody clashes.

In August 2017, the Supreme Court annulled the presidential election after Odinga rejected Kenyatta’s victory. Dozens of people were killed by police in protests.

The aftermath of this year’s election has been closely watched as a test of democratic maturity in the country with the strongest economy in East Africa.

In 2007, another close election, Mr Odinga also rejected the result without going to court, triggering the worst post-election crisis in the country’s history, with more than 1,100 deaths in inter-ethnic clashes.

Any challenge must be filed by Monday 22 August with the Supreme Court, which then has 14 days to make a decision. If it orders the annulment, a new election must be held within 60 days. “We are doing this to defend democracy and our country,” Mr Odinga said.

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