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Kenya’s Supreme Court Opens Hearings on Presidential Election

  • Jill Craig

Kenya's opposition leader Raila Odinga, center, accompanied by party official Kalonzo Musyoka, right, announces they will challenge the results of last week's presidential election in the Supreme Court.

Following pre-trial discussions over the weekend, Kenya's Supreme Court has begun hearing arguments on the opposition party’s petition contesting results of the August 8th presidential election.

The official results showed President Uhuru Kenyatta defeating Raila Odinga by about 1.4 million votes. But since election day, the National Super Alliance, or NASA, opposition coalition has argued that the voting system was hacked, leading to what they call a "stolen election."

The Supreme Court’s first order of business Monday was the opposition’s request for access to the electoral commission’s servers, which NASA says will provide the necessary evidence to support their argument.

“It is our order that the petitioners [Odinga’s representatives] as well as the third respondents [Kenyatta’s representatives] shall be granted a read-only access, which includes copying if necessary, of the following information,” said Justice Isaac Lenaola.

Some of the information that Lenaola listed included firewalls, password policy, system user types and levels of access and GPS locations from each electoral kit.

Lenaola also said the parties would be given access to the official tally forms from the polling stations and constituencies. The court registrar will supervise these exercises, in which each party is permitted two agents to observe. Three court-appointed information and communication technology, or ICT, experts will also be present.

A report about these exercises is due by 5 p.m. local time on Tuesday.

The rest of Monday’s hearing was scheduled for Odinga and Kenyatta’s lawyers to argue their sides of the case, as well as the electoral commission to defend the integrity of its voting systems.

The Supreme Court has until Friday to give its final ruling.

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