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Monday, 25 November, 2002, 10:57 GMT
Kenya's primaries draw to a close
Kanu supporters
Primary elections have been fiercely contested
Candidates for Kenya's parliamentary and local poll are set to start handing in their nomination papers for general elections due on 27 December.

The process of selecting candidates has been controversial in both the ruling Kanu party and the opposition Narc alliance.


The Electoral Commission of Kenya has a sinister agenda by introducing new rules that were not applied in 1992 and 1997 polls

Raila Odinga, Narc
The bruising primary battles have seen deaths, shootings and allegations of fraud and even abduction.

Kenyans will also choose a new president int he poll, as President Daniel arap Moi is not allowed to run for another term.

His nomination of Uhuru Kenyatta as Kanu's presidential candidate led many senior party officials to defect and set up the Narc alliance with opposition parties.

Eye gouged

Narc's founder, Raila Odinga, has complained about new regulations introduced at the last minute.

On Friday, the Electoral Commission of Kenya announced that parliamentary and civic candidates must include documents certifying their membership of parties sponsoring them when presenting their nomination papers early this week.

Presidential candidates
Uhuru Kenyatta
Mwai Kibaki
Simeon Nyachae
James Orengo
Waweru Ng'ethe
Mr Odinga said he was concerned that this may be designed to help Kanu.

"The Electoral Commission of Kenya has a sinister agenda by introducing new rules that were not applied in 1992 and 1997 polls," he said.

During last week's primaries, one politician had his eye gouged out; another was shot three times; thugs allegedly whipped and abducted a group of party activists in Nairobi.

Elsewhere ballot boxes have gone missing, results have been overturned and officials stoned.

The BBC East Africa correspondent Andrew Harding says that Narc's success in attracting defectors from Kanu has caused its own problems.

So many people have been rushing to jump on the bandwagon that there simply are not enough constituencies to go round.

Competition for seats has been intense and often violent.

While Kanu has been hit by internal splits, as well as the defections, our correspondent says.

President Moi and his entourage have been pulling one way. His chosen successor Uhuru Kenyatta is trying to build his own independent platform.

Several ministers and senior opposition officials lost their seats during the primaries.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Matt Prodger
"Mr Kenyatta's endorsement by the President has raised a few eyebrows"
BBC's Joseph Warungu on Focus on Africa
"Violence was averted but verbal taunting was the order of the day"
Kenyans choose a new president

Key stories

Inauguration day

Moi steps down

Background

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See also:

22 Nov 02 | Africa
19 Nov 02 | Africa
12 Nov 02 | Africa
25 Oct 02 | Africa
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