Kenyan presidential candidate and former Prime Minister Raila Odinga filed a petition Monday with the Kenyan Supreme Court challenging the country’s 2022 presidential election results. Odinga’s challenge follows the Kenyan election regulator’s announcement last week that current Deputy President William Ruto won the election.
Odinga’s petition highlights many concerns that his supporters raised after Ruto was declared the winner of the August 9 election. It also singles out Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) Chairman Wafula Chebukati as uniquely responsible for flouting constitutional requirements by not transparently verifying the election results after they were initially counted.
According to the Kenyan Constitution’s Article 138(3)(c), “after counting the votes in the polling stations, the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission shall tally and verify the count and declare the result.” Odinga argues that the election is invalid under Kenya’s constitution because Chebukati “in isolation and by himself in contravention of Article 138(3)(c) purported to tally and verify the results leading to the final result declared. Such tallying and verification, if any, was a nullity ab initio and did not constitute compliance with The Constitution’s mandatory requirements.”
The petition also comes amid a public disagreement between the commissioners of the IEBC where four of the seven commissioners disavowed the official election results. They stated that their concerns were based on a number of irregularities, including the election results adding up to 100.1 percent and 30 constituencies not having their votes counted before the result was announced.
Odinga said in an earlier statement:
The law is clear on the role of the Chairperson of the IEBC. The law does not vest in the Chairperson the powers of a dictator to rule the IEBC unilaterally. The IEBC is structured as a democratic institution in which decisions must be taken either by consensus or by a vote of the majority. The Chairperson and a tiny minority of commissioners have no legal authority to take weighty decisions and proclaim them as the rulings of the IEBC.
Neither the IEBC, Chebukati, nor Ruto have officially responded to Odinga’s petition.
Odinga’s electoral challenge mirrors a 2017 Supreme Court case where the court upheld a revote where now-former President Uhuru Kenyatta was reelected. The court invalidated the initial 2017 results after Odinga asserted that there were irregularities in how the votes were counted.