Kenya: ‘We don’t recognise you and your government’, Raila tells Ruto after whistleblower allegations

By Victor Abuso

Posted on Tuesday, 24 January 2023 14:05
Kenya's opposition leader Raila Odinga, of the Azimio La Umoja One Kenya Alliance, flanked by Martha Karua and former Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka attend a public rally to protest the government's "hounding" of four election commissioners, at the Kamukunji grounds in Nairobi, Kenya December 7, 2022. REUTERS/Thomas Mukoya

Kenya’s opposition coalition Azimio la Umoja One Kenya has announced that it does not recognise William Ruto as president and his officials. This follows allegations from an anonymous whistleblower at the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC). The whistleblower claims Ruto was not legitimately elected in the 2022 presidential poll and that Raila’s win was stolen. 

During a political meeting in Nairobi on Monday, the coalition leader, Raila Odinga, called for the Ruto-led government to  resign, describing it as illegitimate.

“We don’t recognise Mr. William Ruto as president of Kenya and we equally don’t recognise any officials in office with him,” Raila told supporters.

The coalition has demanded that an independent body carry out a forensic audit on the presidential results. It has rejected the plan by Ruto’s administration to lead reconstitution of the IEBC once current officials retire or resign.

“We demand that Kenyans themselves reconstitute the body after full and fair deliberations,” he said.

Furthermore, Raila said the coalition is not interested in engaging Ruto in any political talks. “I don’t want a handshake with Ruto,” he said in reference to the peace deal with former President Uhuru Kenyatta in 2018.

What led to Raila’s announcement?

Last week, the coalition released a statement from an alleged anonymous whistleblower from the electoral body who said he/she had evidence of fraud and the elections were stolen in favour of Ruto.

One of the coalition leaders, Jeremiah Kioni, cited documents provided by the whistleblower alleging that Raila won the polls with 8,170,353 votes (57.3), while Ruto apparently garnered 5,915,973 (41.66%).

The whistleblower also alleges that the chairman of the electoral agency, Wafula Chebukati, provided fabricated results to the public, with 59% of results from across the country not verified.

The coalition also claims that the whistleblower revealed that more than 1,000 unregistered users, whose identity cannot be verified, sent presidential result forms from IP addresses outside the  country for the original results to be manipulated.

Ruto’s response

President William Ruto has laughed off Raila’s demands and polls rigging allegations, accusing him of trying to force him into a political handshake after he lost the election.

Ruto says he will not give in to the demands of his political rival. He reiterates that the IEBC carried out a transparent, free and fair election and that the Supreme Court upheld his win after Raila challenged it.

The government of Kenya is not going to be blackmailed to serve the interests of a few people, the families, and their businesses

“Forget about the handshake, we can see that is what you want. That is a dream,” Ruto said in response to Raila.

Ruto, who recently toured Western Kenya – Raila’s political stronghold – to seek support, has accused his rival of blackmail.

“The government of Kenya is not going to be blackmailed to serve the interests of a few people, the families, and their businesses,” Ruto said.

Tough political times ahead

Brian Wanyama, a political analyst, says Kenya’s stability will be threatened if a permanent solution is not found soon and this will impede Ruto’s ability to govern.

“Raila and Ruto should talk for the sake of political stability of the country,” Wanyama says.

He adds that only a political handshake between Raila and Ruto can heal the divided country after the 2022 disputed presidential election.

“The two leaders should agree on a political handshake to heal the country.

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