Saturday 18 November 2017

Kenya opposition lodges legal challenge to election

Kenya opposition lodges legal challenge to election
(AFP 08/20/17)

Kenya's opposition filed a petition late Friday at the Supreme Court challenging the conduct and results of last week's election won by President Uhuru Kenyatta, demanding new polls.

Court registrar Esther Nyaiyaki received piles of bound papers from lawyers representing the National Super Alliance (NASA) coalition, 90 minutes before the midnight deadline for challenges to be lodged.

"The entire process of tallying recording, transmitting, verifying and confirmation of results was so fundamentally flawed that you cannot talk of any meaningful results," NASA said in a statement outlining the alleged irregularities.

"This petition asks the court and by extension the people of Kenya to nullify the entire exercise because it is fatally compromised, in order to pave the way for fresh, legitimate elections."

The opposition dismissed the election process as, "so badly conducted and marred with such glaring irregularities that it does not matter who won, or who was declared the winner."

The seven Supreme Court judges now have two weeks to hear the NASA petition and any legal responses from Kenyatta's Jubilee Party or the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) before ruling.

Following national elections on August 8, Kenyatta, the incumbent president, was declared the winner, with 54 percent of the vote, a week ago.

Opposition leader Raila Odinga has refused to recognise the result believing that he has been cheated for a third time in a row.

Following the disputed 2007 election -- which Odinga lost to Mwai Kibaki -- politically motivated tribal violence resulted in 1,100 deaths.

When Odinga was declared the loser to Kenyatta in 2013 he took his complaints to the Supreme Court, and lost.

The veteran opposition leader had previously said court was not an option, raising the spectre of further violent protests after 17 people were killed and scores injured over the weekend, but on Thursday he relented, saying hacking and rigging meant Kenyans had been given "computer-generated leadership".

He also called for peaceful protests.

Election observer groups, while praising the conduct of polling day itself, have raised concerns over the transmission and tallying or results with some pointing to discrepancies in numbers and the absence of original polling station tally sheets.

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