Odinga says Kenya election ‘must not stand’

*Odinga (Photo Credit: AFP/Simon Maina)

Kenya’s opposition leader Raila Odinga vowed today not to accept a “sham” election, declaring he would push for a fresh vote through a campaign of civil disobedience and peaceful protest.

He did not indicate whether he would file suit again at the country’s paramount court to have the election annulled.

In his first reaction since his rival Uhuru Kenyatta was declared the winner of last Thursday’s presidential ballot, Odinga denounced the vote that he had boycotted as a “charade.”

“To cut short the long story of a sham and fraudulent exercise, we reiterate that this election must not stand,” he said.

“(…) If allowed to stand, it will make a complete mockery of elections and might well be the end of the ballot as a means of instituting government in Kenya. Elections will become coronation rituals,” he warned.

“We shall see to it that we conduct a free, fair and credible election as ordered by the Supreme Court,” Odinga vowed.

Odinga pulled out of the repeat election, ordered by the top court after he won a petition to overturn the results of a first, accusing the polling board of failing to make sufficient reforms for a free and fair vote.

He thanked his supporters who heeded his call to boycott the election. The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) saying only 38.8 percent of registered voters turned out.

Odinga charged that even this figure was manufactured “to show that Uhuru Kenyatta has a popular mandate.”

The 72-year-old said the election had served to “render useless” last month’s Supreme Court ruling, which had been widely hailed as proof of Kenya’s deepening democracy.

He said his National Super Alliance (NASA) coalition in favour of dialogue with President Kenyatta’s camp, but “before engaging in dialogue, we must also be clear what differences we are sitting down to resolve.”

“The Supreme Court ordered a repeat election held in compliance with the constitution and the law. The order has not been complied with. It must be. It is in our best interest that we do so sooner rather than later,” he said.

“We will not allow two megalomaniacs to destroy the dream of freedom and democracy that generations have sacrificed and worked so hard for,” he said, referring to Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto.

Odinga did not indicate whether he would again petition the Supreme Court to have the vote annulled.

However, he laid out plans for his civil disobedience campaign launched last week.

“The resistance movement shall be responsible for implementing a vigorous positive political action programme that includes economic boycotts, peaceful processions picketing and other legitimate protests.”

“If there is no justice for the people, let there be no peace for the government.”

He also called for the formation of a “people’s assembly” consisting of people from across society to, amongst others, look into weaknesses that led to the current political crisis.



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