Kenyan Opposition Files Petition to Overturn Election Result

  • Opposition asks top court to nullify President Kenyatta’s win
  • Seven Supreme Court judges to rule on petition within 14 days

Raila Odinga

Photographer: Riccardo Gangale/Bloomberg

Kenya’s main opposition group lodged a petition at the Supreme Court seeking to have the outcome of last week’s elections overturned because of alleged vote-rigging.

The National Super Alliance alleges that the electoral body tilted the outcome in favor of President Uhuru Kenyatta, who won a second term and fended off a challenge from Raila Odinga, a former prime minister. The vote was "fatally compromised" and should be nullified, according to court documents submitted by the opposition’s lawyers.

"The effect of this systemic and systematic manipulation and distortion of results renders it impossible to tell who actually won, let alone know whether or not the threshold for winning a presidential election was met," the lawyers said.

A seven-bench panel of judges will deliver a ruling on the opposition’s electoral challenge within 14 days. Fresh elections would be held within 60 days if the court doesn’t uphold Kenyatta’s victory. However, legal experts and political experts say the president’s win is likely to stand.

Odinga, Nasa’s candidate, has failed on three previous attempts to win the presidency in Kenya, the world’s largest shipper of black tea and a regional hub for companies including Google Inc. and Coca-Cola Co. A dispute over the outcome of a 2007 election triggered two months of violence that left more than 1,100 people dead.

Odinga on Wednesday described the top court’s ruling that upheld the 2013 election result as a travesty of justice. "Our decision to go to court constitutes a second chance for the Supreme Court," the 72-year-old said. "The court can use this chance to redeem itself, or like in 2013, it can compound the problems we face as a country."

Clashes between security forces and supporters of Odinga’s five-party political alliance have claimed 24 lives since the results were declared, according to the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights. The opposition says security forces killed more than 100 people during protests, while police have confirmed 10 deaths in Nairobi and say they’re still investigating reports of fatalities in the rest of the country.

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