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Raila Odinga

Kenya braces for legal battle after Ruto declared president-elect


Raila Odinga

Kisumu/Nairobi, Aug. 16, 2022

Kenya on Tuesday braced for a protracted legal battle after William Ruto was declared the winner of its presidential election.

Ruto was declared the victor in a closely fought presidential race over the objections of more than half the electoral commission, stoking fears of political violence.

In the western city of Kisumu and Nairobi’s huge Kibera slum, both strongholds of rival candidate Raila Odinga, calm returned to the streets after protesters battled police and burned tyres on the road overnight.

However, the dramatic events of Monday, which saw Ruto declared president by a tiny margin as a split emerged in the electoral commission overseeing the Aug. 9 vote, has raised fears of bloody violence like that seen after previous disputed polls.

Odinga will address the media at 1100 GMT, his spokesman said via Twitter.

The veteran opposition leader, making his fifth bid for the presidency, is under local and international pressure to seek peaceful legal remedy for any concerns over the election outcome.

The United Nations and the U.S. embassy in Kenya both urged all parties to work together.

The four commissioners who disowned the election results also said the parties should seek resolution through the courts.

Businesses were open as normal in most of the country, and people in areas that voted overwhelmingly for Ruto were still in a celebratory mood.

Kenya, East Africa’s richest and most stable nation, has a history of post-election bloodshed, with over 1,200 people killed in widespread violence after the 2007 presidential vote.

More than 100 people were killed after the Supreme Court overturned the result of the last presidential election in 2017 due to anomalies in the voting process.

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