“The figures announced by Mr. Chebukati are null and void and must be crushed by a court of law,” Odinga told a press conference. “I would like to commend our supporters for remaining calm and keeping the peace and urge them to continue to do so, no one should take the law into their own hands.”
“We are pursuing constitutional and legal avenues and procedures to invalidate Mr. Chebukati’s illegal and unconstitutional proclamation,” he added.
His statement has sparked fears of violence between his supporters and the winner, which has affected past elections. So far, aside from scattered protests, Kenya has been quiet in the wake of the results.
Odinga’s announcement could lead to a repeat of Kenya’s 2017 election results after his campaign challenged incumbent President Uhuru Kenyatta’s victory at the Supreme Court, which declared the vote invalid.
However, Kenyatta still won the election after Odinga asked his supporters not to vote in a show of no confidence in the electoral commission. The period was marred by violent street protests and human rights abuses.
On Monday afternoon, as the country awaited election results, Saitabao Ole Kanchori, one of Odinga’s top electoral officials, said he had received reports that the electoral system had been “accessed and hacked” and that “some officials of the IEBC have committed electoral crimes. “
Minutes before the results were announced, four of Kenya’s seven electoral commissioners said they would not stand by them. In a press conference on Tuesday, he said the president announced the results before all commissioners had a chance to consult on the tables and objections raised by the parties.
“The problem we have is related to the process,” Commissioner Justus Nyang’ya said shortly before Odinga’s news conference. “If it’s not decided by the commissioner, it remains the duty, role and responsibility of just one person in the boardroom.”
The announcement of Ruto’s victory on Monday sparked celebrations across the country from his supporters. In Ngong Town, on the outskirts of Nairobi, drivers honked their horns and paraded through the streets in celebration. Meanwhile, in Ruto’s hometown of Sugoi, people celebrated late into the night.
In the western Kenyan city of Kisumu, an Odinga support base, protesters set tires on fire and blocked roads with rocks before police dispersed them.
This is expected to be Odinga’s last presidential bid. This was the 77-year-old’s fifth attempt at the top post.
The country’s most serious form of election violence came in 2007 when Odinga narrowly lost to Mwai Kibaki – amid allegations of vote rigging. The post-election violence left more than 1,000 dead and more than 5,000 displaced.
In Kibera, a slum in Nairobi that is considered a stronghold for Odinga, crowds that had gathered to watch the live broadcast ahead of the results in previous days dispersed. “The announcement was disappointing; We will do whatever Odinga says, he is our leader. We trust his decision to go ahead,” said Job Owino, a supporter.
Mercy Wanjiru, 30, a resident of Mathare who was displaced by the 2007 post-election violence, said she was happy for Ruto’s victory and hoped Odinga would accept to avoid a repeat of the violence.
“We have a country,” she said. “Now is the time to heal and move on.”