Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Alliance leader Raila Odinga has opened up on the August 9 elections and the reasons that made him consider taking the bitter pill of his “poll victory” being denied both by the IEBC and the Supreme Court.
The ODM leader, during a dinner, organized to thank Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Coalition campaign teams at Safari Park Hotel in Nairobi on Thursday, spit out on the way forward after his election loss.
The possibility of bloodshed witnessed in the 2007/2008 post-election violence and fear of charges in the International Criminal Court are the main reasons why the political bigwig stepped back from claiming poll victory, he said in an outburst last evening.
Likening the tense situation on the day the presidential election results were announced to what was experienced in Ivory Coast in 2010, Mr. Odinga said the split of the IEBC when four commissioners disowned the results had the potential of plunging the country into chaos.
“That member of the commission was acting on behalf of the then president, who had lost the election. The chairman went to a secret location and announced the results then left the country in a quagmire. Close to a million lives were lost. I was appointed by the African Union to go and mediate in that conflict,” Raila recalled the situation in Ivory Coast.
Push for IEBC, Judiciary reforms
Mr. Odinga said his bitter and “unfair” loss in the elections informs his push for reforms in the Judiciary and the IEBC.
“We won the elections hands down. When history is written and facts will come out. They did not even get 50 percent,” he said.
Odinga called on Azimio supporters to “walk tall and feel proud because you are a member of a big movement that won the 2022 election”.
“As a member of the Azimio coalition, you should walk tall and feel proud because you are a member of a big movement that won the 2022 election. We know what happened. Kenyans will get to know why we have an illegitimate regime in power. We will continue to illegitimise this regime because they usurped power,” he told his campaign team.
Odinga acknowledged that Kenya has made strides in strengthening independent institutions, but some of the gains have been “rolled back by the same institutions that have resorted to undertaking unconstitutional decisions.”
Pointing a finger at the Supreme Court ruling on the presidential election petition, the former premier said that it undermined the justice system with the fact that the apex court did not find anything wrong with IEBC chairman Wafula Chebukati announcing results disowned by two-thirds of the commissioners.
“Then we take issues to the Supreme Court; the court also agrees that the chairman is not allowed to single-handedly run affairs of the commission but finally says he was right in making the announcement, that in itself speaks volumes about the Supreme Court,” he said.
He said there’s a need to reform the electoral system and the Judiciary.
“Not because I feel bitter, it must not be Raila Odinga. I have fought hard for the democratization of our country and I have paid the price for it but I want when I am gone, I leave behind a democratic society,” he added.
Sam Oduor is the editor-in-chief at the Western Kenya Times who leverages the power of the Internet in telling stories that shape opinions.