Odinga to challenge presidential election result in court

Opposition leader backtracks on initial refusal to seek legal redress.

Kenyan opposition leader Raila Odinga is to file a petition in the supreme court against the results of the 8 August presidential election, which returned Uhuru Kenyatta of the multi-party Jubilee Alliance to power for a second five-year term with 54.17 per cent of the vote.

Odinga, who polled 44.94 per cent with the National Super Alliance (NASA) in his fourth consecutive presidential election defeat, is disputing the results on grounds of alleged irregularities.

The decision to seek redress through the courts represents a U-turn with respect to his initial announcement that a legal petition was not an option.

 Odinga appealed to the supreme court against the outcome of the 2013 elections, which gave him a much narrower defeat against Kenyatta, the son of Kenya's first president and 'founding father' Jomo Kenyatta and heir to one of the country’s biggest fortunes.

 On that occasion his appeal was overturned.

 This time Odinga, 72, is claiming the new electronic results transmission system was hacked to generate fake results, leading to Kenyatta’s more convincing victory.

Before the official results were announced last Friday, Wafula Chebukati, chairman of Kenya’s independent electoral and boundaries commission, admitted that hackers had tried to tamper with the poll system but that they had been unsuccessful.

 International observers have claimed the elections were free and fair.

The announcement of the results sparked violence in Odinga’s traditional strongholds of Kisumu in western Kenya and the densely populated Nairobi slums of Kibera and Mathare that left 24 people dead according to the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights.

The clashes raised fears of a repeat of the violence that followed the disputed 2007 elections, in which an estimated 1,100 people were killed and hundreds of thousands displaced across the country.

 However, these fears have not materialised.