Odinga takes poll defeat challenge to court

2013-03-16 17:00
Raila Odinga. (File, AFP)

Raila Odinga. (File, AFP)

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Nairobi - Defeated Kenyan presidential candidate Raila Odinga on Saturday filed a legal challenge to the election result, alleging that electoral authorities had colluded with his rivals.

"Barring mass violence, there is no crime higher than subverting the outcome of a presidential election," Odinga, who is prime minister, said outside the Supreme Court.

Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta narrowly beat Odinga, earning 50.7% of the ballots cast in the March 4 vote.

Odinga has rejected the result and accused the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) of entering into a "fraudulent enterprise" with Kenyatta's The National Alliance (TNA) party to rig the polls.

Ballots were not properly verified and voter registration lists were manipulated, Odinga also alleges.

Registrar Gladys Sholloei confirmed the Supreme Court had received the petition and that it would take nine days to process it before judges had the opportunity to issue a ruling.

Police clashed with Odinga supporters outside the court, with demonstrators wearing t-shirts reading "Democracy on Trial" and singing the national anthem.

At one point police hurled tear gas at the crowd, who pulled back before surging forward to within 50m of the Supreme Court's gates.

Legitimate legal process

Security forces later retreated, allowing the crowd to move closer to the building. One person was reported injured in the clashes.

Lawyers for Odinga called their petition before the court a "legitimate legal process" that ensures the will of the people is respected.

"We are not interested in side shows," said Odinga lawyer Mutula Kilonzo. "It would be completely unethical to advice our client to move to court if there was no sufficient evidence."

Voters went to the polls on March 4, five years after a disputed presidential runoff vote between incumbent Mwai Kibaki and Odinga unleashed a wave of bloodshed.

Odinga rejected the outcome and alleged vote rigging in the December 2007 poll. Clashes between supporters of the two candidates left more than 1 000 people dead and hundreds of thousands displaced

The two formed a unity government in April 2008, with Kibaki as president and Odinga as prime minister.

- SAPA

Read more on:    uhuru kenyatta  |  raila odinga  |  kenya  |  kenya elections 2013  |  east africa
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