Kenya opposition files petition on presidential election outcome

By Clement Edward Kumsah
Raila_Odinga
Presidential candidate Raila Odinga alleges there were irregularities in the August 8 presidential vote [Baz Ratner/Reuters]

Kenya’s opposition coalition has filed a petition at the Supreme Court challenging the re-election of incumbent Uhuru Kenyatta.

The petition was filed 90 minutes before the deadline and includes more than 25,000 pages in an affidavit.

Speaking after filing the petition the lead lawyer and opposition politician James Orengo described the just concluded election as a sham and said he has evidence to prove it.

“This petition has been prepared meticulously, and the major consideration which constitutes the theme of this petition that this election is a sham and a sham because the evidence that we presented before this court, the court is going to consider is from all over the country," he said. "Nearly every indiscretion and malpractice that was carried out in this election has been covered with this petition.”

The opposition has refused to concede defeat. Kenyatta who got 54 percent of the vote was officially declared the winner.

The opposition alleges the electronic results transmission system was hacked, which created an inaccurate voting result. The allegation is denied by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission, which was in charge of the ballot count.

In 2013 opposition leader Raila Odinga challenged Kenyatta's win in the Supreme Court and lost.

Omari Dunstan is an advocate of the high court. He says this legal case is different from the previous challenge.

“The court of 2013 did not have a chance to listen and hear the evidence that was supposed to be heard, so the court made that decision to the exclusion of that evidence," he said. "Now Raila Odinga delayed filing his case all his evidence are there. The expectation of the Kenyans this time and the type of publicity the matter has taken is totally different, so this matter is a fresh new issue although the actors are the same.”

As part of an effort to make the election free, fair and credible, unlike 2013, laws were adopted to improve the electoral process using technology.

The technology was used to identify voters and submit voting results.

The court also ruled in 2013 that the result announced at the polling stations were final. In this election, the electoral commission was mandated to announce the final result after verifying all the forms from more than 40,000 polling stations across the country.

Electoral law expert Barasa Nyakuri says the judges will look into whether the electoral laws were followed.

“The key areas the judges will be looking at whether the electoral law and process were followed. Then whether there were any substantive irregularities in the process," said Nyakuri. "These regularities include under casting or overcasting for a particular candidate if they can prove that the forms that existed, forms 34A and 34B, were doctored. That can also be another area of concern.”

On Monday, the electoral agency responded to the opposition request that they were not able to provide all the 34A forms from the polling stations three days after announcing Kenyatta was the winner.

Failure to produce and upload all the result forms on their website on time has raised questions about the credibility of the process.

The hearing of the case begins Thursday. The court is expected to make its ruling on September 1.

Kenya's constitution says if the court upholds Kenyatta as the winner, he will be sworn in within seven days. If the court rules in favour of the opposition, fresh elections will be held in 60 days.

Credit:voanews.com