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Kenya’s opposition leader says he'll challenge close election loss, declares result ‘null and void’

“What we saw yesterday was a travesty,” Raila Odinga said at a news conference Tuesday. “Let no one take the law into their own hands.”
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/ Source: Reuters

Kenyan opposition leader Raila Odinga rejected as “null and void” the result of the presidential election he was declared to have lost, adding on Tuesday that Kenya’s democracy faces a long legal crisis.

His first comments on the result came minutes after four of the seven election commissioners said they stood by their decision a day earlier to disown the result of the presidential poll, saying the final tallying process had been “opaque.”

Kenyan presidential candidate Raila Odinga after he delivered an address to the nation at his campaign headquarters in downtown Nairobi on Tuesday. Ben Curtis / AP

“Our view is that the figures announced by (electoral commission chairman Wafula) Chebukati are null and void and must be quashed by court of law,” Odinga, who was making his fifth bid for the presidency, told a news conference.

“What we saw yesterday was a travesty,” he said. “Let no one take the law into their own hands.”

Chebukati declared current deputy president William Ruto the winner on Monday with 50.49% of the vote against Odinga’s 48.5%. Minutes earlier, his deputy Juliana Cherera had told media at a separate location that she and three other commissioners disowned the results.

A supporter of Kenya's  presidential candidate Raila Odinga
A supporter of Kenyan presidential candidate Raila Odinga protests the results of the general election in Nairobi on Monday.Gordwin Odhiambo / AFP - Getty Images

Speaking for the group on Tuesday, Cherera said the results that gave Ruto a wafer-thin victory were erroneously aggregated and accused Chebukati of over-ruling their questions on the final tally. She said the elections had been conducted in a proper manner.

Chebukati and the four dissenting commissioners did not respond to Reuters requests for comment.

Odinga broadcast the dissenting commission members’ own news conference at his own venue before taking the stage.