NASA leader Raila Odinga made a U-turn yesterday, announcing he would challenge President Uhuru Kenyatta’s victory by going to the Supreme Court. He hinted at his legal strategy
He said he will”demonstrate to the whole world the making of a computer-generated President”.
“This is just the beginning. We will not accept and move on,” Raila told a press conference at his office in Lavington. He also said Kenyans have a constitutional right to peaceful protest and civil disobedience.
A tough-talking and visibly agitated NASA leader promised a protracted battle against what he said was the third time “the candidate who lost election has been declared president”.
He lost his 2013 challenge to the presidential results.
NASA previously said it would not go to court but NGOs were likely to challenge the election.
The latest IEBC figures give Uhuru 8.2 million votes, to Raila’s 6.7 million.
However, yesterday the former Prime Minister said,
“Accepting such a crime for the third election in a row would irredeemably entrench the triumph of anti-democratic impunity and the permanent death of democracy. Future elections would be a sham. NASA shall not be party to it,” Raila said.
He called Uhuru and DP William Ruto products of computer fraud.
He did not produce evidence, however, or reveal the what he called the genuine tally.
In what is shaping up as another titanic legal duel, Raila said he will prove the IEBC “shamelessly cooked” results from non-existent polling stations.
The NASA presidential candidate said the poll was riddled with illegalities, including what he termed fake ungazetted presiding and returning officers and doctored statutory forms.
Flanked by his co-principals Kalonzo Musyoka, Musalia Mudavadi and tens of MP- elects, Raila said that in many polling stations, vote tallies surpassed registered voters.
“They gave figures from non-existent Forms 34A and 34B; they scrambled to manufacture such forms; switched vote numbers; and how they openly swindled to reach predetermined consistent vote numbers. They cooked numbers to the extent that vote tallies often surpassed registered voters in polling stations,” he said.
Raila, the ODM chief, will also seek to prove more than a million Kenyans only voted for President, which he called impossible since all voters are issued six ballot papers for six offices.
This will be the second time rivalry between Raila and Uhuru will spill into the Supreme Court.
In 2013, the Willy Mutunga led bench dismissed Raila’s petition, giving Uhuru a five-year mandate
However, that ruling was heavily criticised by legal scholars and politicians as the public confidence in the apex court nosedived.
“The court can use this chance to redeem itself, or, like in 2013, it can compound the problems we face as a country,” Raila said.
The apex court is led by Chief Justice David Maraga, a staunch SDA adherent and perceived as fiercely independent of and offended by pressure from the executive.
“Even as we go to court, we are cognizant of the fact that ever since Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto publicly warned the Judiciary, the IEBC has not lost a single case in court. We have decided to move to the Supreme Court, despite the history and other recent circumstances,”Raila said.
Without stating the game plan if he fails in court, Raila said NASA supporters and leaders “will not accept and move on”.
“No one should believe, and especially not those behind this election fraud, that Kenyans are sheep who will willingly go along with democracy’s slaughter. This country is now divided between those prepared to live under autocracy and the forces of freedom and democracy.”
He said it was unacceptable that candidates go flat out to campaign in an electoral process eventually determined by a few
“Most Kenyans do not agree that our democracy is a charade, a game, in which people campaign their hearts out for leaders they want, but are then given a winner pre-determined by the darkest forces in our society and beyond,” Raila said.
Opposition leaders scoffed at international observers for allegedly violating their mandate and calling on him to concede even before the vote was called.
But citing a report of the Carter Centre, a US observer mission led by ex-Secretary of State John Kerry, Raila said the organisation has since acknowledged that the transmission of results was unreliable.
“Although election day voting and counting functioned smoothly, electronic transmission of results from polling stations to the 290 constituency centers, where official results are tallied, proved unreliable. Unofficial results were also transmitted to the national tally center, where they were posted on its website. Unfortunately, the early display of vote tallies at the national level was not accompanied by the scans of polling station results forms as planned, nor labeled unofficial, leading to some confusion regarding the status of official results,”the Kerry led team wrote in its interim report.
“ We shall hold vigils, moments of silence, beat drums and do everything else to peacefully draw attention to the gross electoral injustices being meted on our country and demand redress. Kenyans have no need to use violence to achieve justice,” he Raila said.