Raila Odinga, Kenya’s Opposition Leader Claims Ruto’s Government is Illegitimate

Raila Odinga, Kenya's Opposition Leader, Says Ruto's Government Is Illegitimate (News Central TV)
Raila Odinga, Kenya’s former Prime Minister and the African Union (AU) High Representative for Infrastructure Development in Africa, speaks during an interview with Reuters in Nairobi, Kenya February 18, 2021. REUTERS/Thomas Mukoya – RC2ZUL92H0H5

Raila Odinga, Kenya’s opposition leader, has urged his supporters to oppose President William Ruto’s government, claiming that its disputed election last August has stripped it of legitimacy.

Ruto’s Kenya Kwanza alliance narrowly defeated Raila Odinga in the election, whose results were announced under dramatic scenes at the national counting centre, and his victory was affirmed by the Supreme Court.

Raila Odinga, Kenya's Opposition Leader, Says Ruto's Government Is Illegitimate (News Central TV)

Both leaders, who have controlled politics in East Africa’s largest economy for decades, have settled into an uneasy calm following the election, but Odinga’s coalition announced last week that it had discovered new proof of rigging.

“We cannot and will not recognise the Kenya Kwanza regime and we consider the Kenya Kwanza government illegitimate,” Odinga said at a protest in the capital on Monday, adding that the government should quit.

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Because of previous races that resulted in violence, the August vote was widely observed. More than 1,200 people were slain in the aftermath of the 2007 election, and more than 100 people were killed in 2017 when the Supreme Court overturned the initial results due to irregularities in the voting process. Ruto, who claims the Supreme Court verdict validated his election, has accused Odinga of plotting to destabilise his administration by calling for protests.

Following the retirement of its chairman and two loyal commissioners this month, as well as the resignation of the majority of the others, the president has moved to lay the ground for the rebuilding of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC). He appointed a panel to investigate the actions of four election commissioners who disputed the election results, claiming Ruto had not won. Three of the four have subsequently resigned.

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“We demand that any attempts to reconstitute the IEBC single-handedly by Mr. Ruto cease forthwith so that Kenyans themselves can reconstitute the body after full and fair deliberations,” Odinga stated.

He also urged Kenyans to oppose the government’s levies on basic necessities such as flour and power.

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