Kenya high court orders vote recount in presidential election

[JURIST] The Supreme Court of Kenya [official website] on Monday ordered scrutiny of two documents used to tally votes in the March 4 presidential election and ordered a recount of all votes from 22 polling stations. The Coalition for Reform and Democracy (CORD) [party website] and two other groups reportedly petitioned the court for a recount of the election results, which declared that candidate Uhuru Kenyatta [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] surpassed CORD-backed candidate and Prime Minister Raila Odinga [Al Jazeera profile] by a vote of 50.07 to 43.3 percent. The high court consolidated the petitions and gave CORD the lead role in the challenge. According to reports, the petitioners hope that the recount will conclusively determine [Africa Review Report] if the number of votes cast exceeds the number of registered voters. Vote recounting is to begin on Tuesday.

The challenge to the election results [JURIST report] follows a decision by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) earlier this month calling the elections complex but credible and transparent. The IEBC has urged the candidates to accept the commission's official results. Also this month Odinga appealed [JURIST report] the decision to the high court. Odinga has accused electoral authorities of "electoral theft" and stated that he is appealing the results of the election to "ensure elections count." Police dispersed [BBC report] a crowd of Odinga's supporters outside the Kenyan Supreme Court after they were told that they would not be allowed to congregate. Odinga called on his supporters not to resort to violence and stated that he would respect the decision of the Supreme Court, whatever the result. In March the Supreme Court ordered the parties involved in the dispute to restrain from making public statements [JURIST report] with regard to the case. The court also warned civic groups and journalists that they could face punishment for biased statements that could undermine the court's authority. Kenyatta has been charged by the International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website] with crimes against humanity arising from violence following Kenya's disputed 2007 presidential election. In March, Kenyatta asked [JURIST report] the ICC to drop the charges against him for lack of evidence. The request came amid the withdrawal of charges against Francis Muthaura [JURIST report] on the same day.

 

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