Kenya moves to disband electoral body

Nairobi - Kenya on Friday moved to disband its controversial electoral commission, whose tallying of last year's presidential vote sparked clashes that killed an estimated 1 500 people.

The government published a bill that paves the way for a slimmed-down interim body to take over from the 22-person Electoral Commission of Kenya.

The new five-person body will oversee a "reform process, register voters afresh, supervise (a) referendum and promote free and fair elections," according to the bill.

Kenya suffered some its worst violence early this year after then opposition chief Raila Odinga accused President Mwai Kibaki of stealing the December 27, 2007 election.

The weeks of bloody fighting that followed also displaced around 300 000 people.

Former United Nations chief Kofi Annan mediated an end to the conflict that saw Kibaki and Odinga sign a power-sharing deal in February, creating the position of prime minister for Odinga.

The bill also provides for an independent boundary review commission to look into constituency boundary disputes. According to an attached memorandum, the bill seeks to "bring a lasting solution to the underlying problems that brought about the political crisis".

Parliament is expected to pass the bill into law before a recess next week. However, the current electoral commission has sought a court order barring parliament from disbanding the body. - AFP

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