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IEBC ordered to file reply on poll results case within seven days

POLITICS
By Harold Odhiambo | July 11th 2017

A court has ordered the electoral commission to respond within seven days to a petition seeking to compel the agency to announce presidential results within seven hours after closure of polling stations.

Monday, the hearing of the case -filed under a certificate of urgency at the High Court- failed to take place after lawyers representing both the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) and the plaintiffs failed to file their submissions.

Three voters; Titus Alila, Jackline Otieno and Francis Ogada claim that delays in announcing the results could create room for rigging, leading to unnecessary anxiety.

With the Government investing heavily on the use of technology ahead of the polls, they argue that provisional results can be declared in at least six hours after the closure of polling stations.

They believe the Sh3.8 billion Kenya Integrated Election Management System (KIEMS) will allow IEBC to electronically transmit presidential  election results.

"Delay in the announcement of presidential election results is a harbinger for creating anxiety, confusion and violence in a deeply polarised political environment such as in Kenya," the petition partly read.

The petitioners, represented by Kisumu-based lawyer Kenneth Omondi, argued that a delay was likely to cast a doubt on the credibility of the exercise should some people take advantage of the situation to rig.

"Delay in announcing the provisional presidential election results winner may give room for ballot box stuffing and filling in gaps thereby compromising the integrity of the entire process," they said.

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On Monday Mr Omondi said: "We have already filed our submissions and our prayer is that the court issues the orders."

Justice David Majanja directed lawyers representing the two parties to ensure they file all their documents within seven days.

The case will be heard on July 18. Majanja dismissed pleas by the defence to bring the hearing date much earlier, asking them to ensure that they comply with the court's directive.

The Court of Appeal upheld a High Court ruling that presidential election results announced at the constituency level are final. 

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