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Kenya Court to Hear Presidential Vote Documents Petition

Kalonzo Musyoka, center, Kenya's current Vice President and running mate of presidential candidate Raila Odinga, speaks at a press conference in Nairobi, Kenya, Mar. 7, 2013.
Kenya’s high Court plans to begin hearing a petition on Wednesday filed by the Coalition for Reforms and Democracy (CORD) to force the release of more information about the presidential election.

Eliud Owalo, attorney for the CORD presidential candidate, Raila Odinga, who filed the petition, says the move is part of the party’s effort to challenge the outcome of the March 4 presidential vote.

“We are seeking orders from the court compelling the Independent Electoral and Boundary Commission [IEBC] as well as SAFARICOM limited [telephone company] to furnish us with certain data and information that is pertinent to the main petition that we intend to file later in the week, most probably Friday,” said Owalo.

“Even in the absence of the court ruling, we have got a massive evidence of electoral fraud, particularly pertaining to the presidential elections,” Owalo added.

The IEBC declared Uhuru Kenyatta, the son of the country's founding leader, president-elect with 50.07 percent of the vote, enough to avoid a runoff.

But challenger Raila Odinga’s CORD party claims it has evidence of voter irregularities in the March 4 balloting. The party has assembled a team of lawyers to challenge the election outcome in the Supreme Court.

Both local and international poll observers described Kenya’s general election as peaceful and credible.

“Where we have areas of concern is the tallying process, mainly, and this is where we have got massive evidence manipulation, of data manipulation, of figures. We have got massive irregularities in respect to the returns which were announced at various polling stations across the country,” said Owalo.

“It is democracy which is on trial here,” continued Owalo, “and I wonder if the judiciary would want to go against the grain with massive and glaring information at its disposal that points to massive election rigging.”

Some analysts say the Supreme Court might not be inclined to overturn the announced presidential vote results, which they contend could create tension and possibly trigger violence. But Owalo disagreed.

“We do not want to anticipate a situation where the judiciary will rule against our pleas and we want to give them the benefit of doubt that once we file the petition at the Supreme Court then justice will prevail,” said Owalo.

Kenya’s constitution stipulates that parties have one week to legally challenge an election and the Supreme Court would have two weeks to rule on the challenge before the president is officially installed.
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