Kenya’s opposition leader has said his coalition will not accept the result of last week’s controversial presidential election rerun, vowing to embark on a political campaign to “restore democracy in the country”.
Raila Odinga made the comments on Tuesday, one day after President Uhuru Kenyatta was declared the winner of the October 26 poll.
Kenyatta took 98.2 percent of the votes, according to official results, but turnout stood at less than 40 percent following a boycott call by Odinga.
“This election must not stand,” Odinga told reporters, saying that the result was not credible and alleging that the electoral body was not in charge of the poll.
“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,” added Odinga, leader of the National Super Alliance (NASA) opposition coalition.
“It will completely destroy public confidence in the vote. Reasonable people will not turn out to vote in elections with pre-determined outcomes.”
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The poll rerun was called after the country’s Supreme Court annulled an August 8 presidential election – following a challenge by Odinga – because of “illegalities and irregularities” in the voting process.
Odinga withdrew from the repeat poll claiming reforms demanded by the opposition had not been made to the electoral commission.
Ahead of the vote, he had urged his supporters to not participate in what he called a “sham” election and vowed to transform NASA into a “resistance movement” against the government.
In his remarks on Tuesday, Odinga he referred to a programme of “vigorous positive political action” that will include “economic boycotts, peaceful processions. picketing and other legitimate protests”.
He added: “If there is no justice for the people, let there be no peace for the government.”
‘A tirade of conjuncture statistics’
Kenya’s Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) announced on Monday that 38.84 percent of the registered voters had turned up to cast their ballot in the poll rerun – that is 7.6 million of the 19.6 million registered voters.
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In contrast, nearly 79 percent of the registered voters had taken part in August’s annulled election.
But in a victory speech on Monday, Kenyatta denied that many people had not turned up to vote.
“Many Kenyans exercised their democratic rights,” he said after the announcement of the official results by IEBC.
“The narrative locally and internationally therefore the voter turnout was low is inaccurate. It is nothing but a history of political convenience and a tirade of conjuncture statistics,” he added.
Call for talks
The African Union on Tuesday said the poll was credible and urged dialogue between Kenyatta and Odinga.
“Overall, the stipulated procedures for opening, voting, closing and counting were largely complied with,” the AU said in a statement.
“The AU observer mission noted improvements in the technical conduct of the elections.”
In the run-up to the election, Kenya was gripped by almost daily protests and running battles between opposition supporters and security forces.
At least 50 people have been killed in political violence witnessed since August’s annulled polls.