NAIROBI, March 8 (Xinhua) -- A Kenyan court on Friday rejected an application that sought to stop ongoing vote tallying exercise in Nairobi as the electoral body apologized for the delay in releasing the presidential results.
A three-judge bench led by Isaack Lenaola said the High Court has no jurisdiction to hear presidential related petitions but can hear election related cases and directed the petitioners, the Open Governance, to file their case at the Supreme Court.
"Only the Supreme Court has jurisdiction to adjudicate disputes arising before, during and after the presidential elections," Justice Lenaona ruled on Friday.
Chief Justice Dr. Willy Mutunga had earlier appointed a three- judge bench to hear arguments from the civil society organization seeking to stop the tallying and declaration of the presidential results by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) later on Friday.
The organization is suing the IEBC and its chairman Isaac Hassan, saying the manual tallying process has irregularities and should be stopped and electronic vote tallying be used in accordance to the constitution.
The organization's Executive Director Gladwell Otieno said the vote tallying should be stopped until grievances raised by political parties are heard and a credible, transparent and fair process is instituted.
However, the organization said later after the ruling that it expects the Supreme Court to hear their case seeking to stop tallying as early as Saturday.
The East African nation held its historic general elections on Monday. This was the first time that the country held polls under the new constitution that was enacted in 2010.
The events surrounding these elections are being watched eagerly throughout East Africa after what happened in 2007/08, when the country was faced with disintegration following the disputed presidential election of December 2007.
The development comes as the Independent Electoral and Boundary Commission (IEBC) apologized to the nation for the delay in releasing the final results of the Monday's general elections.
However, IEBC chairman Isaac Hassan said they were working "round the clock" to finish the process later on Friday and thanked Kenyans for their patience and understanding.
"We are determined that the process will end today. There is need to balance between expeditious release of results and due diligence," Hassan said and assured the nation that the results being announced are accurate and reflect the will of the people.
"The results we are releasing are credible. We are working for long hours to ensure that the process is finished soon. I thank Kenyans for the patience so far and results will be ready soon," he assured.
The vote tallying had been slowed by the failure of an electronic reporting system earlier this week, which forced electoral body to resort to manual counting of votes.
The historic elections are 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 official results from the electoral body.
The electoral body said about 70 percent of 14.3 million Kenyans voted on March 4 for their next President and other State representatives in the elections regarded as one of the most significant event in the history of this country.
The Monday polls were the very first to be 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 will be the very first to be organised under Kenya's 2010 Constitution, which provides for safeguards against unfair, insecure, corrupted, non transparent or inefficiently administrated elections.
IEBC Chief Executive Officer James Oswago also told the nation that the electoral body will finish the presidential vote tallying by tonight.
"We hope to finish this work as soon as possible; we hope you will be here if we finish by 4 am. We have stopped the process briefly to reconcile our results to ensure that what has been announced has also being keyed in," he said.