NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — Kenya police Tuesday dispersed protesters in front of the electoral commission offices as controversy continued over who should conduct the fresh presidential elections.
Fresh presidential elections are scheduled for Oct. 26 after the Supreme Court, earlier this month, invalidated President Uhuru Kenyatta’s re-election win.
Police lobbed tear gas after shoving broke out between opposition supporters, who demanded the resignations and prosecutions of top officials of the electoral commission, and ruling party supporters who urged no change to the electoral body, said opposition supporter Cyrus Okemwa.
Peaceful protests were carried out by hundreds of supporters in the opposition stronghold of Kisumu against the commission.
The opposition coalition’s parliamentary group charged in a statement that members of an outlawed gang had been brought to the demonstration to cause chaos and harm opposition leaders. Police security for opposition leader Raila Odinga was withdrawn ahead of the protests, said his running mate, former Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka.
President Uhuru Kenyatta, whose re-election in August was cancelled by the Supreme Court, has said the electoral commission should not be changed. Opposition leader Raila Odinga charges that the electoral commissioners are complicit in electoral fraud and should be dismissed and charged with crimes.
The Supreme Court invalidated Kenyatta’s win, saying the electoral commission failed to verify results and there was evidence of irregularities and illegalities in the vote counting.
Odinga on Tuesday rejected reforms the electoral body said it would implement including allowing opposition computer technology experts to monitor the commission’s computer systems and letting the U.N. purchase ballot papers.
Odinga alleged the group of suppliers who conspired to rig the first elections was still intact and they must be replaced to have fair results in the rerun. Odinga charged that members of the conspiracy include one of East Africa’s most successful companies, the communications firm Safaricom, and France’s OT Morpho.
Separately newly elected opposition legislator Paul Ongiki, also known as Babu Owino, has been charged with subversion for allegedly referring to President Uhuru Kenyatta as “son of a dog” in Swahili during the campaign trail last week. Prosecutors told the court the charges carry a sentence of seven years and six months. Owino was remanded for a day at a police station as he awaits a ruling on his bail application.
This version corrects the date for fresh election to Oct. 26.