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Odinga Says He Will Respect Jurists

FILE: Kenya's opposition leader and presidential candidate Raila Odinga, of the Azimio La Umoja (Declaration of Unity) One Kenya Alliance, walks on the day of filling a petition challenging the presidential election result, in Nairobi, Kenya. Taken 8.22.2022

Kenyan opposition leader Raila Odinga, who is contesting his loss in this month's presidential election in the Supreme Court, said he will respect the court's ruling - but still believes he won.

Odinga's legal team has lodged a case alleging that a team working for Deputy President William Ruto hacked into the election system and replaced genuine pictures of polling station result forms with fake ones, thus increasing Ruto's share of the Aug. 9 vote.

Ruto, who was declared president-elect, denied the allegations. The election commission has split and filed competing responses - four commissioners disowned the result, and the chairman and two others supported it.

The publication The East African reports that a delegation of jurists from other African countries has arrived in Nairobi to observe the legal challenges mounted against the election.

The publication says retired Tanzania Chief Justice Mohammed Chande Othman heads the delegation, which also includes president of the Electoral Court of South Africa Henry Boissie Mbha, Moses Chinhengo from Lesotho's Court of Appeal, Lillian Tibatemwa-Ekirikubinza of the Supreme Court of Uganda, and Malawi Supreme Court of Appeal jurist Ivy Kamanga.

The international panel will reportedly attend all Kenya Supreme Court hearings on the election and document the proceedings.

This is Odinga's fifth run at the presidency, blaming previous losses on rigging, claims that have twice sparked deadly protests in East Africa's wealthiest and most stable nation.

Odinga said he had proof that he had won the election, which requires a candidate to receive 50% of the vote plus one. He wants a recount.

"We should be announced as the winners," Odinga told Reuters. However, he added: "if the courts decide otherwise, we will basically respect the ruling of the courts."

When asked if there were any circumstances under which he would not accept the ruling, he said:

"I don't really want to appear as if I'm trying to blackmail the Supreme Court. I want the Supreme Court to hear this case impartially ...I don't want to speculate."

The Supreme Court must rule by Sept. 5.

This report was prepared using information from Agence France-Presse and from The East African.