Kenyan court orders opposition access to electronic vote-count systems after presidential poll

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Kenya’s Supreme Court on Monday ordered the election commission to allow the opposition, which is disputing the results of this month’s presidential poll, to have access to its computer servers and electronic devices used in the counting of votes.

Election authorities say President Uhuru Kenyatta won a second term in the Aug. 8 poll by 1.4 million votes. A parallel tally by independent monitors based on a sample of around 2,000 polling stations produced a similar result.

But opposition leader Raila Odinga’s coalition said in its court petition that results from more than a third of polling stations were flawed.

At least 28 people were killed in election-related violence, many of them shot by police after the results were announced, amid scattered protests in opposition strongholds.

The protests, which dissipated within days, had raised fears that major political violence could again destabilize Kenya – the region’s most developed economy – as it did following a disputed election in 2007.

The Supreme Court said it would allow Odinga’s National Super Alliance (NASA) and Kenyatta’s Jubilee Party limited access to the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission’s electronic devices to verify certain details, such as who had used the devices and accessed the servers.

Last week, the election commission submitted two sets of tally sheets to the Supreme Court – those used at each of the 41,000 polling stations and those for each of the 292 constituencies.

James Orengo, the coalition’s lead lawyer, said some tally sheets at the constituency level had lacked certain security features and an official stamp.

“These forms and the security features were supposed to protect the integrity of the process,” he said.

But Paul Muite, an election commission lawyer, said that even if there were some administrative issues at constituency level, the vote totals on those forms would be supported by a detailed analysis of the tally sheets from the polling stations.

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