David Maraga

The Supreme Court on Wednesday ordered the Kenyan Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission to give access to election returns to parties challenging President Uhuru Kenyatta’s victory in the October presidential election.

The court ordered the IEBC to grant immediate access to the original vote tally forms and a copy of the voter register to the petitioners, a former lawmaker and two human rights activists.

Chief Justice David Maraga told the petitioners they must file a report on their findings from the returns by Thursday afternoon.

Lawyers for Kenyatta and the election board had opposed the application for access to the returns, arguing it was a waste of time.

The unanimous ruling, on the second day of the court’s review of the petitions, comes after it rejected the participation of opposition leader Raila Odinga’s NASA coalition in the petitions.

The court has until Nov. 20 to rule on the two petitions, the latest chapter in a protracted political crisis that has stirred fears for the stability of the east African nation, a regional hub for trade, diplomacy and security.

If the election result is upheld, Kenyatta will be sworn in on Nov. 28.

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