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Kenya opposition hails ‘historic’ decision overturning poll

Raila Odinga

Nairobi, Kenya | AFP | Kenya’s opposition leader Raila Odinga on Friday hailed as historic a court decision nullifying an election won by President Uhuru Kenyatta and calling for a re-run.

“This is a historic day for the people of Kenya and by extension for the people of the continent of Africa,” said Odinga, adding it was the first time a presidential result had been overturned in Africa.

“We are ready for elections but we don’t have confidence” in the electoral commission (IEBC), he added.

“Those commissioners must go,” said Odinga. “Most of them belong in jail.”

– ‘Irregularities and illegalities’ –

It was the third time in a row that Odinga claimed he had been cheated out of victory at the polls, after his losses in 2007 and 2013.

However, the protests remained isolated and did not reach the levels of the disputed 2007 election which saw politically-motivated ethnic violence in which over 1,100 people were killed.

In 2013, Odinga took his grievances to court and lost.

This time he initially refused to take the case to court but changed his mind, saying NASA wanted the truth to come out even if they believed they had no hope of winning.

However, in a dramatic and unexpected turn of events, the Supreme Court agreed with the opposition coalition.

Maraga said there had been “irregularities and illegalities”, notably in the transmission of election results.

He said this had compromised the “integrity of the entire presidential election”.

The court’s full ruling must be made available within 21 days.

– Election commission vows change –

Odinga said he no longer had faith in the current election commission and called for them to step down.

But IEBC chairman Wafula Chebukati refused to resign, saying he had not been implicated in any wrongdoing personally, but vowed “internal changes to our personnel”.

He called for those guilty of wrongdoing to be prosecuted.

NASA official and lawyer, James Orengo, had argued that irregularities — including unsigned and fake tally forms, hacked servers and deliberate miscounting — had affected around one-third of the 15.5 million votes cast.

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