London law firm Wedlake Bell advised on disputed Kenya election
SIMON MAINA/AFP/GETTY IMAGES
British lawyers are advising the Kenyan leader of the opposition on his challenge to the presidential election, it emerged yesterday.
Raila Odinga has instructed the London firm Wedlake Bell to advise on his allegation that the election, which was held this month, was rigged.
Two of the firm’s litigation partners, Adam Colenso and David Golten, are leading a team in advising on what Odinga describes as “serious shortcomings in the way the election was conducted”. They are working with Odinga's Kenyan legal team in making urgent applications to the Kenyan Supreme Court.
According to the lawyers, the petition alleges that there was “massive, systemic, systematic and deliberate non-compliance with the constitution of Kenya and the laws and regulations governing presidential elections”.
It claims the election involved the use of intimidation, coercion of public officers and improper influence of voters. It also alleges that 395,510 votes were unlawfully deducted from Odinga and added to the tally for the winning candidate, Uhuru Kenyatta.
The claim also alleges that Kenya’s Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission is “still in the process of fraudulently altering and tampering with electoral forms”. Odinga’s lawyers allege that “the votes counted in a significant number of polling stations were not counted, tabulated and accurately collated as required”.
Golten told The Brief that “this is an extremely important legal challenge that has significant and wide-ranging ramifications for the evolving Kenyan democracy.
“While our client is confident that he will win, it has to be said that the timeframe for the determination of the petition at 14 days is incredibly tight, and there are serious deficiencies in the disclosure of relevant records for forensic analysis”.