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Kenya's electoral body changes team to oversee new vote

A supporter carrying her baby carries a poster for Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta, ahead of his visit on a street in Ongata Rongai, on the outskirts of Nairobi, Kenya Tuesday, Sept. 5, 2017. Kenya faces an Oct. 17 vote after the Supreme Court nullified Kenyatta's re-election but opposition leader Raila Odinga said Tuesday he does not accept the date, demanding reforms to the electoral commission and other "legal and constitutional guarantees." (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)
September 06, 2017 - 7:02 AM

NAIROBI, Kenya - Kenya's electoral commission has announced changes in its top personnel to oversee the new presidential election next month, while campaigning officially began Wednesday.

Six officials have been appointed to run the new vote ordered by the Supreme Court after it nullified President Uhuru Kenyatta's re-election, a statement by commission Chairman Wafula Chebukati said Tuesday.

The appointments appear to be in response to opposition leader Raila Odinga's demands for reforms to the commission before the new election on Oct. 17.

Kenyatta's Jubilee party objected to the changes, claiming in a letter to the commission chairman on Wednesday that nine of the people listed on the project team for next month's vote "are people known to be partisan." The letter did not give details.

Odinga, who had challenged the results of the Aug. 8 vote in court, did not immediately comment on the changes to the electoral commission. His spokesman Dennis Onyango said the National Super Alliance coalition would announce its position later.

The court's decision on Friday that the electoral commission committed irregularities in last month's vote shocked the country, with some observers calling it a first for Africa.

Odinga continues to demand access to the electoral commission's servers as ordered by the court.

A separate statement by the commission Wednesday announced the start of campaigns, saying they will end on Oct. 15.

News from © The Associated Press, 2017
The Associated Press

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