Kenya: Odinga accepts to settle poll dispute in top court
Kenya’s opposition leader Raila Odinga has finally accepted to pursue his claims of fraud in the recent presidential election at the country’s top court. Odinga, who had previously refused to seek a Supreme Court decision on the dispute about the August 8 election, said on Wednesday that he would submit his evidence to the court to prove that the government had tampered with the results of the computerized election allegedly through illegal access to servers. “We have now decided to move to the Supreme Court and lay before the world the making of a computer-generated leadership,” Odinga said in a briefing with journalists.
The opposition leader, who lost his third bid for presidency in the recent election, said pursuing legal channels would not mean an end to street protests by his supporters, which he said should peacefully continue. Odinga said every Kenyan had the right to demonstrate, strike and carry out acts of civil disobedience as it was enshrined in the constitution.
“Kenyans have no need to use violence to achieve justice,” he said, adding, “We will preach peace… we will uphold our rights to assemble and protest. We shall hold vigils, moments of silence, beat drums and do everything else to peacefully draw attention to the gross electoral injustices … and demand redress.”
Odinga has claimed that incumbent Uhuru Kenyatta’s victory in the recent election was a result of hacking and manipulation of the electronic vote counting system. The claim has sparked massive protests in two major slums in the capital Nairobi and in the west of Kenya, where Odinga enjoys huge support. Dozens have reportedly been killed in the violence while the international community has called on Odinga to calm his supporters.
A European Union mission observing the election process said on Wednesday that the government should end the dispute by posting online the remaining forms showing results in each polling station.
A statement from the mission said electoral officials should not miss the timing of publishing the data as such a delay could undermine the transparency and accuracy of the election process. Authorities have said that about 2,900 of the 41,000 forms have yet to go online.