Kenyan election official flees before vote

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A top Kenyan election official has fled the country citing political intimidation ahead of a presidential re-run in October.

NAIROBI, KENYA (REUTERS) - More potential trouble in Kenya's election re-run.

A top electoral official has fled the country, citing political intimidation.

Roselyn Akombe claims the vote will make a 'mockery' of democracy.

Her claims are likely to be seized upon by the opposition.

A re-run of the election was ordered by the Supreme Court in September.

After opposition leader Raila Odinga petitioned against a result that saw Uhuru Kenyatta returned to office.

Odinga withdrew from the presidential re-run last week.

He says reforms have not been introduced since the last vote.

Even the head of Kenya's election board has raised concerns.

Praising Akombe on Wednesday (Oct 18), he said his attempts to introduce reforms had been held back by divisions in the electoral commission and political meddling.

However, the country's election board still plans for the vote to go ahead on Oct 26.

In an address on Wednesday, incumbent Kenyatta made no reference to Akombe fleeing to New York.

"I have reached this decision to call all Kenyans to pray for their country in their mosques temples and churches, culminating in a national day of prayer," Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta said.

A call for reflection perhaps pertinent in a country where some 37 people have died in violence since August's vote.

However, Kenyatta's critics argue free and fair elections will require human intervention, rather than divine.

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