Odinga Seeks Phone Data to Prove Flaws in Kenya President VoteJohnstone Ole Turana and Sarah McGregor
Kenya’s defeated presidential candidate Raila Odinga is seeking evidence from mobile-phone operator Safaricom Ltd. and the country’s election commission to support his case that last week’s voting process was flawed.
Odinga asked in the High Court for Safaricom to provide information on mobile handsets it sold to the election commission and text-messages sent on its network during the March 4 elections, Jonathan Arwa, his lawyer, said today.
Safaricom said on March 6 it was hired to provide network services, including a secure link, to relay results from polling stations and counties to the national tallying center in Nairobi. At no time did its network fail, Chief Executive Officer Bob Collymore said in an e-mailed statement. The company also delivered 17,900 phones to the commission.
The electoral commission declared Uhuru Kenyatta, the son of Kenya’s founding father, the winner with 50.07 percent of votes cast, narrowly avoiding a two-way runoff. Odinga rejected the outcome, citing a breakdown in electronic voting safeguards and allegations the number of ballots was inflated. He plans to ask the Supreme Court to overturn the results.
The outgoing prime minister is also seeking the commission’s final list of registered voters and a copy of its contract with Safaricom, Arwa said today during a hearing at the High Court in Nairobi.
Odinga’s legal team must first serve legal papers to the commission and Safaricom, Judge Isaac Lenaola said. He postponed the case until 8 a.m. tomorrow.
Odinga has until March 16 to file a petition challenging the results of the presidential election, after which the Supreme Court would need to issue a verdict within two weeks. If it rules the vote invalid then a new one must be held within 60 days, according to the constitution.