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Kenya to replace electoral officials after opposition protests

Kenya to replace electoral officials after opposition protests

Kenya

Kenya will replace its top electoral officials, granting victory to the opposition which had branded them biased and led protests for them to be sacked, a cross-party parliamentary committee said on Tuesday.

Nine new commissioners will take over the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) well before next August’s general election, a key demand of Raila Odinga’s opposition CORD coalition which said it had feared a rigged vote.

At least four people died in protests that CORD had been staging weekly, raising concerns of a return to ethnic violence that killed 1,200 people after a disputed election in 2007.

The protests began in April but CORD suspended them after President Uhuru Kenyatta’s ruling Jubilee coalition agreed to form a joint parliamentary committee to resolve the dispute.

That committee issued its report on Tuesday, recommending “a dignified and negotiated vacation from office” of the electoral commissioners, and setting out how their replacements will be picked to start preparations for next year’s vote.

The committee also agreed various changes to the electoral laws, including an independent audit of the voter register, another key demand of the opposition.