NAIROBI, March 16 (Xinhua) -- Kenya's Prime Minister Raila Odinga on Saturday called on the public to remain calm after his coalition lodged a petition challenging the election of Uhuru Kenyatta as the country's fourth President.
Odinga told journalists in Nairobi that his coalition is optimistic that justice will be attained at the corridors of justice and clarified that he was not challenging the elections outcome because he wants to be declared the president.
He emphasized on the need to remain peaceful as he called on his supporters to be calm during the judicial process so as to give the judiciary a chance to expedite the case.
"I therefore appeal to all Kenyans to remain calm and patient as we await for the verdict of the Supreme Court," the outgoing PM told journalists in Nairobi.
He said his supporters' commitment to the rule of law and to peace put to shame the prophets of doom who were convinced the supporters of the declared loser on March 4 would embark on a bloody course.
"But those same prophets are now warning that violence looms around the corner at any of the Constitutional steps that lie ahead in resolving this election dispute."
"I want to state once again that I am not challenging the IEBC election outcome because I am determined to be declared President. There is no democratic goal higher than respecting the will of the people to decide whom they want to lead the nation," Odinga said.
"And barring mass violence, there is no crime higher than subverting the outcome of a presidential election. What we are seeing in this electoral battle is the hidden struggle between the forces of change and of the status quo," Odinga said.
The outgoing PM said when Kenya burned five years ago after an election so tainted that Johann Kriegler, a retired South African Judge who investigated the country's disputed polls said no one could be sure who won it, he decided to make the sacrifice that was needed to keep Kenya whole.
"But what I regret is that we did not put in place any mechanism to identify and punish who the perpetrators of that election crime were. Had we done so, the IEBC would not have dared to conduct this election in the criminally negligent manner that it did," he said.
Odinga's remarks came after the police engaged his supporters in running battles on the Nairobi streets near the Supreme Court.
Some of the pro-CORD supporters who had convened peacefully to witness the presentation of the petition to the court were injured as police used teargas canisters to disperse them.
They were however, allowed in the court's compound where they were addressed by the team of lawyers and politicians who urged them to be calm as they await the hearing of their case later this month.
Odinga who was trounced by Uhuru Kenyatta in last week's general elections has repeatedly indicated his commitment to respect and abide by the Supreme Court ruling and urged Kenyatta to publicly do the same.
"By now, Kenyans know from the experience of the tainted election of five years ago that violence destroys the lives of the innocent and at the same time deeply divides the country," Odinga said.
"Our people have struggled too long and made too many gains in the last 20 years to be cowed into submission again. We cannot begin what was supposed to be a new era, under a new constitution, in the same old ways."
Odinga said that after Kenya recognized the damage which the elections of the 2007 did to the fabric of the nation, they created the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) to ensure that such an election trauma will never occur again.
"Despite the enormous resources spent on the election preparation, the technology failed at the crucial moment," he said.
"Its collapse on polling and tallying period fundamentally changed the system of voting as well as the number of votes cast thereby forcing the country to revert to the manual system," he said.
The PM decried that despite the CORD agents regularly complaining to the IEBC about the incidences, the electoral body refused to act.
"The new Constitution was not the beginning but the culmination of one great phase of the democratic struggle in Kenya. I am absolutely confident that the promise of that Constitution will be reinforced in the days to come by the Judges of the Supreme Court. "
"Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka said that there is no democratic goal higher than respecting the will of the people to decide whom they want to lead the nation," he said.