Kenya court orders vote recount

2013-03-25 22:40
Kenyan presidential candidate Uhuru Kenyatta. (AP)

Kenyan presidential candidate Uhuru Kenyatta. (AP)

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Nairobi - Kenya's Supreme Court on Monday ordered a recount of votes cast at 22 polling centres, after presidential elections in which a second-round run off was only avoided by the narrowest of margins.

"Recounting is to be done in 22 polling stations," said Supreme Court Judge Smokin Wanjala.

The counting of the 4 March ballots - a fraction of the total votes cast in about 32 000 centres nationwide - is scheduled to take place on Tuesday.

Official election results showed president-elect Uhuru Kenyatta won 50.07% of the vote, only just breaking the first-round threshold by about 8 000 ballots.

He was, however, around 800 000 votes ahead of his closest rival, outgoing Prime Minister Raila Odinga.

Odinga's party and civil society groups have filed separate legal challenges in Kenya's highest court alleging widespread irregularities in the polls.

The panel of six judges have until Saturday to decide whether Kenyatta should be confirmed as Kenya's new president or whether new elections should take place - a high-stakes test for a country still traumatised by deadly violence after the last polls five years ago.

The court also ordered the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) to provide the voter registration list it used in the tally of the presidential vote after an electronic system failed.

"We order the IEBC to provide the principal voter register in its entirety," said Judge Njoki Ndung'u.

The elections in 2007 were marred by similar complaints of fraud and descended into tribal bloodshed that killed more than 1 100 people and caused hundreds of thousands to flee their homes.

Odinga claims the poll was marred by irregularities including changes to the voter register, inflated numbers of registered voters and technical incompetence by the electoral commission.

He has urged supporters to stay calm while he challenges the outcome, and has promised to abide by the court's decision - which is expected this week.

- SAPA
Read more on:    uhuru kenyatta  |  raila odinga  |  kenya  |  kenya elections 2013  |  east africa
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