Kenya's Odinga - tech fail led to fraud

2013-03-27 22:12

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Nairobi - Lawyers challenging Uhuru Kenyatta's victory in the Kenyan presidential election said on Wednesday new technology meant to counter fraud had broken down, leading to a manipulated vote count.

Losing candidate Raila Odinga is contesting the result in court and both sides have agreed to accept the outcome.

A disputed vote five years ago ignited tribal violence that dented Kenya's reputation as a stable democracy but the presidential election on 4 March took place without bloodshed.

Lawyers for Odinga told the Supreme Court that the failure of an electronic system to transmit numbers from polling stations to a tallying centre and the breakdown of other equipment had undermined the chances of a transparent vote.

"The voting system was prone to manipulation in the absence of electronic voter identification," said Odinga's lead counsel, George Oraro. "Tallying was manipulated to achieve certain results."

The record 86% voter turnout was also suspect, he said, likening it to an election in a communist state.

The electoral commission has said its computer servers were overwhelmed and that it resorted to manual transmission of tallied ballots.

The official result was always going to depend on the manual tally, it says. The electronic system was designed to give a swift provisional result and avert the prospect of violence.

The commission has rejected claims of fraud and declared the vote free and fair. Its lawyers are expected to rebutt Odinga's charges on Thursday, the final day of hearings.

Most public manner

Also at Wednesday's hearing, a lawyer for civil organisations sought to annul the result on the grounds of fraud after the electronic system failed.

"The people who altered those results must be arrested and prosecuted in the most public manner possible," Kethi Kilonzo said.

Saturday is the deadline for the court to announce its ruling on whether to uphold Kenyatta's win or order another vote.

Both candidates have promised to accept the decision and many Kenyans insist there will be no repeat of the bloodshed that followed the 2007 election which left more than 1 200 dead.

Western nations are concerned about the fate of a country with which they have strong business ties and count as an ally in a regional struggle against militant Islam.

The US Embassy has warned Americans in Kenya to be on guard for possible unrest this weekend. Police have banned rallies and demonstrations to avoid violence - a move rights groups have criticised as a violation of Kenyans' freedoms.

Odinga alleges "rampant illegality" in the first-round vote.

Kenyatta, who is charged by International Criminal Court in the Hague with crimes against humanity over the previous post-election violence, says the voting was fair.

Western nations have said a Kenyatta victory would complicate relations because of those charges, which he denies.

His aides said the president-elect, the son of the country's founding president, was at a resort in the Rift Valley consulting with allies on the composition of a new cabinet and other positions if he wins the court battle.

Should Odinga win his challenge, it would mean a new election that would further unnerve markets.

Read more on:    uhuru kenyatta  |  raila odinga  |  kenya  |  kenya elections 2013  |  west africa

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.