Wednesday March 27 2013

Kenya court rejects part of Odinga challenge to poll results

By Agencies

Kenya's Supreme Court on Tuesday rejected part of a legal challenge to March 4 election results brought by defeated presidential hopeful Raila Odinga, who has alleged widespread irregularities in the polls.

The court has until Saturday to decide whether Uhuru Kenyatta -- who was declared the winner of the polls -- should be confirmed as Kenya's new president or whether new elections should take place, a high-stakes test for a country still traumatised by the violence of 2007 elections.

On Tuesday, it rejected outgoing prime minister Odinga's demand that the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission provide a forensic audit of a computer system initially used to tally the votes that suffered widespread failure.

It also dismissed hundreds of pages of alleged evidence provided by Odinga to back up allegations of irregularities, though this is only part of the overall stack of evidence submitted and the rest of the legal challenge still stands.

On Monday, the court also ordered a recount of votes cast at 22 polling centres -- a fraction of the total votes cast in some 32,000 centres nationwide -- with checking being carried out on Tuesday. The results of the recount have not been released.

Official results showed president-elect Kenyatta won 50.07 percent of the votes -- only just breaking the first-round threshold and avoiding a second-round run-off by some 8,000 ballots -- and he was declared the winner on March 9.

But Odinga, his party and civil society groups alleged irregularities.

The elections in 2007 were marred by similar complaints of fraud and descended into tribal bloodshed that killed more than 1,100 people and caused hundreds of thousands to flee their homes.

Kenyatta, the son of Kenya's first president and one of Africa's richest men, faces trial at The Hague-based International Criminal Court on charges of crimes against humanity related to the deadly post-electoral violence in 2007.

AFP

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