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Africa

Kenya's Odinga to take poll dispute to top court

Defeated Kenyan opposition leader Raila Odinga said Wednesday he has decided to take his claims that the presidential election was rigged to the Supreme Court, after previously refusing to do so.

The 72-year-old cried foul shortly after vote counting began, sparking protests that left at least dozens dead and 177 injured.

Kenya's election commission: the Independent Elecctoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) has said there was a hacking attempt but it failed, and election observers stated that they saw no signs of interference with the vote. The unrest quickly gave way to a tense limbo as his supporters waited to hear if Odinga will take his grievances to court, as urged by international election observers. "We refuse to sit and see Jubilee turn our country into a banana republic and a playground,” Odinga said.

Odinga also announced peaceful mass protests and said they would hold vigils and beat drums to draw attention. He has rejected the results, which gave Kenyatta, 55, a second term with 54 per cent of the vote. Odinga, secured 44.7 per cent in last week's poll. He saod that "accepting such crime for the third election in a row will entrench the triumph of anti democratic impunity and permanent death of democracy." The veteran opposition leader has now lost four elections and cried foul over results in the previous too.

In 2007, his rejection of the result prompted rioting and retaliation by security forces that led to the country's worst crisis for decades. About 1,200 people were killed in the ethnic violence that followed.

In 2013, he challenged the presidential results in court and lost. Judges eventually ruled that much of his evidence was being submitted outside time limits set by the court. Odinga has up to Friday (18.08.2017) to lodge his case.

Kenyan elections (Getty Images/AFP/M. Longari)

Dozens of people have died after Raila Odinga contested the results

Meanwhile, the election commission said Tuesday (15.08.2017) it was not yet able to provide all the forms that were used to tabulate the presidential election results, raising the question of how it came up with the tally it announced Friday night. The European Union election observer mission in a statement Wednesday urged Kenyan authorities to promptly publish all results forms online.

Deregistration of critical NGOs

Meanwhile, the Kenyan government has overturned a decision to shut down two rights groups that have raised concerns over last week's election, hours after authorities raided one of the group's offices.

Police and tax authorities on Wednesday raided the Africa Centre for Open Governance (AfriCOG), one of the organizations that has regularly highlighted problems with preparations for the Aug. 8 vote.

According to Reuters, acting Interior Minister Fred Matiang'i instructed Fazul Mohamed, head of the non-government organization coordination board, to suspend action against the organizations for up to 90 days while talks with the government are held.

Government's threats to shut the AfriCOG and the Kenya Human Rights Commission drew condemnation from the United Nations, European Union and human rights groups such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch who feared a crackdown on dissent.

 

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