Kenya: 2 protesters killed in protests over electoral body

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — Police killed two people in the western Kenyan town of Kisumu on Monday during protests calling for the disbandment of the national electoral commission over allegations of bias and corruption, witnesses said.

The weekly protests resumed Monday after attempts to start negotiations between the government and the opposition on how to reform the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission failed. Police initially barred the demonstrations, but a court ruled that the constitution allows picketing and ordered police to provide protesters with security.

Opposition leader and former Prime Minister Raila Odinga led peaceful demonstrations in the capital, Nairobi, but police in Kisumu tear-gassed demonstrators who responded by throwing stones.

A witness, Gerald Owino, said police shot dead two protesters. Another witness, Edwin Opiyo, said the body of one person shot dead was still on the road.

Police said the protesters had attacked them.

Two weeks ago, police killed one protester in Kisumu, an opposition stronghold, and two in neighboring Siaya county in similar protests.

The electoral commission’s chairman, Issack Hassan, said the commission will not be disbanded and challenged the opposition to provide evidence of the alleged corruption and bias.

Some members of the commission have been named in a case in which two executives of British printing firm Smith and Ouzman Ltd. were sentenced to a total of five years after being convicted in the U.K. for making corrupt payments to individuals in various countries, including Kenya, to win business for the company.