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Kenya's Top Court Outlines Election Review

FILE: Kenya's opposition leader and presidential candidate Raila Odinga, of the Azimio La Umoja (Declaration of Unity) One Kenya Alliance, and his running-mate Martha Karua present a petition challenging the presidential election result on August 22, 2022.

UPDATED: Kenya's Supreme Court on Tuesday said it had identified nine issues to determine the outcome of petitions challenging the result of the August 9 presidential election, including whether any irregularities were substantial enough to nullify the poll.

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.

On Tuesday, the court said it will attempt to answer nine questions during the case, including whether the election commission website was hacked and if there was any interference with the transmission of result forms.

The seven judges will also ascertain if the election technology -- a hot-button issue that led to the nullification of the August 2017 presidential vote following a challenge by Odinga -- met the "standards of integrity, verifiability, security and transparency".

After assessing the transparency of the poll, the court will finally rule on whether Ruto met the constitutional threshold of 50 percent plus 1 of the valid votes cast.

The disagreement has raised fears it could trigger the type of violence that followed disputed polls in 2007 and 2017.

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 also 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.

Kenya is a key western ally in an unstable region and it hosts the regional headquarters of many global companies and organizations.

The court, whose decision on presidential election petitions is final, will also consider if there were unexplained disparities in votes cast for presidential and other down-ballot races like for members of parliament, she said. It will also decide if the tallying of presidential votes met the constitutional standards.

The court will also decide if Ruto attained the constitutional threshold of 50% plus one of the votes cast, Koome said, and whether any irregularities were substantial enough to nullify the poll.

The court will issue its verdict on those questions on Monday.

This report contains information from Reuters and Agence France-Presse.