Kenya court blames election commission for botched vote

Kenya court blames election commission for botched vote

Odinga has said he will not take part in the repeat election if several demands, including the sacking of senior staff at the election board, are not met.

"(The board's) disobedience of this 28 Aug order in critical areas leaves us with no option but to accept the petitioner's claim that the (election board) system was infiltrated and compromised and. data interfered with", said Judge Philomena Mwilu.

Mr. Maraga led a six member team of judges to invalidate the August election that put President Uhuru Kenyatta ahead of his NASA opponent, Raila Odinga.

Kenya's Supreme Court then ordered a new election to be held within 60 days, and Kenyatta pledged to respect the ruling despite repeatedly and strongly criticizing it.

The company providing the voting system for the re-run of Kenya's presidential election says the equipment will not be ready in time, putting the planned date in jeopardy.

The court's majority decision to annul the poll - the result of which was announced three weeks ago - surprised many observers and embarrassed local, African and western observers who said they had found no major problems with the election. Around 1,200 people were killed in the campaign of ethnic violence that followed.

Addressing the court, Judge Mwilu said the electoral body had refused to comply with court orders to open its computer servers, saying this suggested that opposition claims of tampering could be true.

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In Kenya's electoral system, official tally forms were to be sent from all 291 constituencies and 40,883 polling stations to the national tallying center. "These discrepancies affected the integrity of the elections", Chief Justice David Maraga said.

"The (board) can not therefore be said to have verified the results", she said.

The roads around Kenya's Supreme Court were cordoned off Wednesday, and police dispersed protesters from the ruling and opposition parties who had gathered outside.

In another significant development, opposition MPs boycotted the opening of Parliament to protest against President Uhuru Kenyatta's decision to address it after a court annulled his election win. Maraga said the opposition had failed to show evidence Kenyatta had campaigned using state resources or undue influence.

While admitting that "no election is flawless", the judges in the majority said that IEBC had disregarded electoral laws and behaved as if they "did not exist".

The country's chief justice had announced in a press briefing that judges were getting death threats and police authorities were not providing adequate protection, an allegation rejected by the chief of police.

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