Kenya’s Supreme Court on Tuesday laid out questions it will answer when it rules on this month’s disputed presidential election result, including whether the commission’s website was hacked.
Opposition leader Raila Odinga, who is seeking the presidency for the fifth time, is contesting the result of a tight vote after which the election commission chairman declared Deputy President William Ruto the winner.
Four out of the seven commissioners disowned the result.
The situation has raised fears of possible violence like the episodes after disputed polls in 2007 and 2017.
Kenya is a key western ally in an unstable region and it hosts the regional headquarters of many global companies and organizations.
Odinga’s legal team lodged a case alleging that a team working for Ruto hacked into the election system and replaced genuine pictures of polling station result forms with fake ones, thus increasing Ruto’s share.
Ruto denied the allegations.
The election commission has filed competing responses, with three commissioners supporting the process and four questioning it.
The Supreme Court will decide if the polling station returns were interfered with and whether the postponement of eight gubernatorial and legislative elections disadvantaged any candidate, said Chief Justice Martha Koome, the president of the seven-member court.
The court, whose decision on presidential election petitions is final, will consider whether there were unexplained disparities in votes cast for presidential and other races such as those for members of parliament, Koome said.
The court will also decide whether the tallying of presidential votes met constitutional standards, and whether Ruto attained the constitutional threshold of 50 percent plus one of the votes cast and whether any irregularities were substantial enough to nullify the poll, Koome said.
SCK 9 issues for determination in the presidential petition
1. Whether the technology deployed by IEBC met the standards of integrity, verifiability, transparency to guarantee credibility of results.
2. Whether there was interference of Form 34As from the polling station to the IEBC portal
3. Whether there were differences between Form 34A on the portal, Form 34A at the National Tallying Centre and Form 34A with the agents at the polling station.
4. Whether the postponement of Gubernatorial, Parliamentary and MCA elections resulted in voter suppression to the detriment of Azimio
5. Whether there were unexplained discrepancies between votes cast
6. Whether IEBC carried out its mandate in accordance with 138(3)(c) and 138(10)
7. Whether the President-elect got 50% + 1
8. Whether there were irregularities and illegalities of such magnitude to affect the results/outcome
9. What relieves & orders can the court grant or issue
The court will issue its verdict on those questions on Monday.
In 2017, it ordered a rerun of the presidential elections due to irregularities, but upheld the victory of President Uhuru Kenyatta, who won after Odinga, then his rival, boycotted them.