Kenya’s Supreme Court ordered a recount of ballots at 22 polling stations in this month’s presidential election and said it will analyze return forms as it decides on a challenge to the outcome of the vote. Raila Odinga, the outgoing prime minister, filed a petition in the nation’s highest court after he lost the March 4 election to Uhuru Kenyatta, the son of Kenya’s first president. Odinga has asked the court to overturn the result, saying the balloting was riddled with fraud and irregularities. “The re-tally shall aim at establishing whether the number of votes cast in each of these 22 polling stations exceeds the number of registered voters,” Justice Smokin Wanjala said at a pretrial hearing today in Nairobi, the capital. Turnout was a record 86 percent of 14.3 million registered voters across about 31,000 polling stations.
Odinga, son of Kenya’s first vice president, has declined to concede after elections in 1997 and 2007. Five years ago, allegations of widespread vote-rigging helped set off two months of ethnic and political violence that killed at least 1,100 people and cut economic growth to 1.5 percent in 2008 from 7 percent a year earlier.
The recount will start tomorrow at 8 a.m. under observation by the parties involved in the petition and the outcome must be filed by 4 p.m. on March 27, Wanjala said. The six-judge Supreme Court has until March 30 to deliver a verdict, according to rules set out in the constitution.