U.N. expresses worry ahead of Kenyan vote

Feb. 26, 2013 at 1:36 PM

NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb. 26 (UPI) -- Kenyan leaders need to ensure internal political disputes don't mar next week's presidential elections, a U.N. official said Tuesday.

Kenyans head to the polls Monday in presidential elections. Thousands of people were killed following 2007 elections amid clashes between supporters of incumbent President Mwai Kibaki and those of Raila Odinga.

U.N. special envoy on internally displaced persons Chaloka Beyani called on Kenyan leaders to prevent the security situation in the country from deteriorating amid reports of localized conflicts.

"Power struggles over political representation at the local level have already resulted in new displacement in some instances," he said in a statement.

In mid-February, a Kenyan court cleared Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta and his running mate, William Ruto, to run in the Monday election. Both men could face charges at the International Criminal Court for crimes related to conflicts after the 2007 elections.

Monday's election is the first under a new constitution that sought to enact reforms following the 2007 crisis.

Kenyan newspaper The Daily Nation reports that around 90 percent of would-be voters haven't verified their registration with the national election commission. The report adds that the ICC has delayed the trial for Kenyatta and Ruto until August, after its summer recess.

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