by Christine Lagat and Chris Mgidu
NAIROBI, March 16 (Xinhua) -- Kenya's Prime Minister Raila Odinga formally filed his petition at the country's Supreme Court on Saturday to challenge election of Uhuru Kenyatta as the country's fourth president.
Odinga who heads the Coalition of Reforms and Democracy (CORD) is asking the Supreme Court to set aside the results of the presidential election as announced by Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) on March 9.
He is also urging the court to declare null the announcement of Uhuru Kenyatta as President-elect and William Ruto as Deputy President-elect, respectively, and void the whole electoral process leading to that declaration.
The petition which was filed by a team of top lawyers in Nairobi said there was no free or fair presidential elections.
"Consequently no government could lawfully be formed by or from the purported declaration on March 9, 2013, of Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto as President-elect and Deputy President-elect respectively, by the IEBC and its chairman to the dishonor of the Kenyan people," Odinga argued in his petition.
The petition said the voter register was severally altered as to make it difficult to tell which one was used finally.
For the purposes of the March 4 elections, Odinga said, the registration of voters was carried out between Nov. 19, 2012 and Dec. 18, 2012, at the end of which the IEBC announced that 14,337, 399 persons had registered as voters.
"In breach of the mandatory legal requirement, the IEBC has falsely, unlawfully and illegally in flagrant disregard of the law and its declaration of the result of the presidential election held on the March 4, 2013 reflected the total number of registered voters as 14,352,533 well above the total number of registered voters as the date of closing of registration on 18th December, 2012," he said.
"Indeed, during February 2013, the IEBC announced that they had discovered approximately 20,000 persons who had double registered in the December registration, and accordingly reduced the register tally to 14,267,572 voters as displayed on its website. The illegally inflated March 2013 register exceeded this corrected figure by some 85,000 voters."
Some 12.3 million Kenyans voted in presidential elections in which Uhuru Kenyatta narrowly avoided a run-off by winning 50.07 percent of the ballots against his close challenger, Odinga who garnered 43.4 percent.
The historic elections were being watched closely by both local and international poll monitors who have said the election was credible and called on the political leadership to maintain peace as they await the presidential petition at the Supreme Court.
The March 4 polls were the very first, held since the 2007/2008 post election violence, when, within a 7 week period following the polls, and as a direct consequence of the contested results, thousands of civilians were victims of serious crimes, including killings, sexual and gender based violence, forced internal displacements, destruction of properties.
The elections are important also because these elections were the very first, organized under Kenya's 2010 Constitution, which provides for safeguards against unfair, insecure, corrupted, non transparent or inefficiently administrated elections.
In his petition, Odinga avered that increasing the number of registered voters was intended to permit the IEBC to manipulate the presidential election held on March 4 and that their purported results and declaration, on March 9 was null and void.
"That by abandoning the process of electronic identification at the polling stations and releasing results based not on the safeguarded, agreed, determined and credible electoral process it had promised and committed to, and by which legitimate expectations accrued, but a process that failed so significantly, substantially and endemically, IEBC effectively failed to reflect the will of the Kenyan people at the election," the petition read.
Arising from the acts and omissions of the IEBC, Odinga said he and the people of Kenya, were deprived of a free and fair election devoid of manipulation, an expectation which was denied, thereby irreparably undermining the entire process and result as declared on March 9.
CORD's lead lawyer George Oraro who filed the case expressed optimism of a strong case. Oraro said Odinga is the petitioner in the case while IEBC chairman Isaack Hassan, President elect Kenyatta and deputy president elect Ruto are the respondents. Hassan is the returning officer of the presidential results.
"I believe that First and Second Respondents in breach of the Constitution, failed to establish systems which are accurate, secure, verifiable, accountable and/or transparent and indeed declared results which in many instances had no relation to votes cast at the polling station, developed methods which were opaque and intended to manipulate the results in the course of which the Petitioners' representatives were altogether excluded from the process," Odinga said in the petition.
"In the final tally, the total number of votes cast in the Presidential Elections differed materially from those declared by the First and Second Respondents for purposes of the Gubernatorial and Parliamentary elections which took place on the same date clearly attesting to my belief that massive electoral fraud and malpractice occurred or permitted to occur by the First and Second Respondents in contravention of the requirements of the Constitution and the legislative framework in place as regards the March 4, presidential election."
Kenya plunged on the brink of civil war after the disputed elections late in 2007 led to weeks of protracted violence that uprooted 600,000 people from their homes and left 1,300 people dead. A national healing process is underway in the East African nation.