Kenya’s opposition leader to announce post-election strategy

Kenya’s opposition leader to announce post-election strategy

Raila Odinga will announce his next move today after losing last Tuesday’s presidential election. The opposition leader insists the contest

Photo: AFP

Photo: AFP

Raila Odinga will announce his next move today after losing last Tuesday’s presidential election. The opposition leader insists the contest was rigged after incumbent Uhuru Kenyatta won 54% of the vote. Election observers dispute Odinga’s claim.

Odinga has been here before. This is the fourth election he’s lost since 1997. He’s challenged the last two; one in 2007—which was deemed fraudulent, leading to large-scale ethnic violence and a deal that made him prime minister—and one in 2013, which was dismissed by Kenya’s top court.

But this time, Odinga’s options are limited. Kenyatta’s victory margin is almost 4 percentage points larger than it was in 2013, so he’s unlikely to offer to share power.

The 72-year-old could call on supporters to foment civic unrest—indeed, he asked them to strike on Monday. But because regional and international leaders have already recognised Kenyatta’s victory, doing so will tarnish the opposition’s image. A legal challenge is the most likely ‘next move’, but the apparent lack of evidence means it would be quickly dismissed.

Expect bluster and determination in today’s announcement; ultimately Mr Odinga will have to accept the result or risk a return to ethnic violence.