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Vote numbers were changed, Kenyan court told

NAIROBI — Vote totals for Kenya’s president-elect increased without explanation between the time the ballot numbers were announced at some remote polling centers and when they reached the national tallying center in the capital, a lawyer for a civil society group told the country’s Supreme Court on Wednesday.

Kenya’s six-justice Supreme Court heard arguments from the group and from the legal team of Prime Minister Raila Odinga asserting that the court should invalidate the election commission’s declaration that Uhuru Kenyatta won the country’s March 4 presidential election with 50.07 percent of the vote.

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Kethi D. Kilonzo, an attorney for the African Center for Governance, played a video for the Supreme Court that she said showed Kenyatta’s vote totals increased between when some local polling stations announced their counts and when those numbers reached the national center.

One station, in Nyeri Country, said Kenyatta had won 53,252 votes, Kilonzo said. By the time the national election commission read the result, Kenyatta’s total had increased to 55,726, she said.

Kenyatta cleared the crucial 50 percent mark by only 8,400 votes out of more than 12 million ballots cast, making each vote highly valuable. Had he gotten below the 50 percent threshold, Kenyatta and Odinga would have faced one another in a run-off.

The last time Kenyans voted for president in 2007, allegations of rigging to benefit President Mwai Kibaki sparked ethnic clashes that killed about 1,000 people.

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