Former Prime Minister Raila Odinga. [Kelly Ayodi, Standard]

Azimio la Umoja-One Kenya leader Raila Odinga yesterday alleged that an intricate network of “corruption cartels” bungled the General Election to deny him victory.

At the same time, Raila claimed that the said cabal had tried to stop him and his running mate Martha Karua from filing the presidential election petition at the Supreme Court.

Addressing the Press at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre (KICC), Nairobi, yesterday, the Azimio presidential candidate cited a scheme that allegedly involved bribing electoral officials and security officers, “killing electoral officers,” as well as calculated voter-suppression.

He spoke shortly after filing the petition, terming the just concluded elections a “do or die for the forces of corruption,” who intended to infiltrate the presidency to facilitate their operations that included drug-trafficking and money laundering, while enjoying government protection.

“For the sake of Kenya’s future, the corruption network must not only be stopped, it must also be crushed,” Raila said, arguing that the cartel had been financing specific candidates and intimidating electoral officials.

He said that a rigging plan was executed as high up as at the Bomas of Kenya tallying centre, where he claimed that “results had been manipulated”. 

“You will be surprised to see the shameful acts that transpired… We have evidence of the fraud. Some of those who were paid off reached out and told us they are ready to be our witnesses,” Raila said.

For the most part, the Azimio leader was restating a message that has been a staple of his campaigns – that the election was a contest between the forces of democracy and corruption.

He was also making a case for the petition he had filed in court, highlighting aspects upon which the case is based, such as manipulation of results and issues around the voter turnout.

“No nation, once captured by cartels, whether they be corruption cartels, drug cartels, gun running cartels or terror cartels, ever thrived or realised its full potential,” Raila said.

“The steps we have taken today and the ones we will take going forward are all about to stop the corruption cartels from getting to the heart of our nation and government the presidency and to stop the corruption cartels from jeopardising election health and democracy in our country otherwise will have no country,” he added.

Raila, who exuded confidence that the Supreme Court case would be ruled in his favour, said he filed a petition in order to bring back sanity in the electoral process in what he called a fight for “democracy and good governance.”

“The action we have taken affirms our deep belief in constitutionalism, the rule of law and a peaceful resolution of disputes. We have enough evidence that it is us who won the election,” Raila added, accusing the IEBC of overturning the will of the people.

He also pointed out the recent defections by Azimio leaders to President-elect William Ruto’s Kenya Kwanza Alliance was part of a plan to kill democracy and put in place a one-party rule.

“After being denied the numbers at lower-level elections like the members of the county assemblies and governors, these corruption cartels are working and buying leaders who have been elected on other party tickets,” he said.

Earlier when Azimio leaders addressed a gathering at the KICC, Karua claimed that the election was a “criminal enterprise.”

“There was massive stealing and we have enough evidence to prove it. The servers were opened and inflated with fake numbers but victory will soon be ours,” she said, accusing Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission chairperson Wafula Chebukati of allegedly facilitating the rigging.

Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka claimed that there is a foreign hand in the contested election.

Nchi yetu imetekwa nyara na watu wasiokuwa Wakenya (Our country has been held hostage by foreigners),” Kalonzo said, alluding to a later piece of evidence that Azimio intended to display to the court. “Some foreign missions have taken sides. They must remain neutral and they should know that Kenya is for Kenyans. We shall not compromise our sovereignty.”

The Wiper leader like Raila and Karua, said that the Azimio case would shock the world, saying it was stronger than that of 2017, which resulted in the nullification of President Uhuru Kenyatta’s victory.

Since the undisputed election of 2002, no presidential election in Kenya has gone uncontested, with this year’s outcome also causing a rift within the IEBC.