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Kenya opposition leader rejects election results

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Deputy President William Ruto casts his vote in Uasin Gishu County, Kenya, on August 9. He was declared the winner. Photo by EPA-EFE
Deputy President William Ruto casts his vote in Uasin Gishu County, Kenya, on August 9. He was declared the winner. Photo by EPA-EFE

Aug. 16 (UPI) -- Kenya's opposition leader rejected the results of the country's presidential election on Tuesday and vowed to mount a court challenge.

Raila Odinga, who was declared the loser in last week's presidential elections by Wafula Chebukati, chair of Kenya's Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission, called the results null and void.

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"We are pursuing constitutional and lawful channels and processes to invalidate Mr. Chebukati's illegal and unconstitutional pronouncement," Odinga said, according to the Washington Post.

William Ruto, the deputy president, was declared the winner with just over 50% of the vote, compared to Odinga's 48.8%.

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Odinga accused Chebukati of manipulating the vote tallies. He was not alone in his questioning of the results, as four of the seven members of the electoral commission also accused Chebukati of hiding return data from the other commissioners.

"The issue that we have is with the process," commissioner Justus Nyang'aya said, according to the Washington Post. "If that is not determined by the commissioners, then it remains the duty, role and responsibility of only one person in the boardroom."

Many election observers praised the counting process as transparent, the Wall Street Journal reported.

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This was Odinga's fifth run for president. He challenged the results in the past two elections and successfully got the Supreme Court to annul the results in 2017. However, he lost again during the rerun.

"We ask all political party leaders to continue to urge their supporters to remain peaceful and refrain from violence during the electoral process," the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi said late Monday.

Kenya's outgoing President Uhuru Kenyatta had surprisingly endorsed Odinga, instead of Ruto, who is his deputy.

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