Reuters International

NAIROBI (Reuters) - Kenya's opposition coalition said on Friday it would go ahead with political protests next week even while it acknowledged progress was being made in talks with the government.

Tensions have been mounting since early April, when the opposition began weekly protests demanding the leadership of the Kenya's electoral committee be sacked, calling them incompetent and biased in favour of the government.

At least four protesters have been killed in clashes with security forces in the opposition stronghold of western Kenya and scores have been injured nationwide. The government banned the protests this week, but the opposition said it would disregard that.

In a statement on Friday, the opposition Coalition for Reform and Democracy (CORD) said its "programmes for demonstrations are still in place for Monday and Thursday next week."

In a bid to resolve the dispute, on Wednesday President Uhuru Kenyatta set up a bipartisan committee in parliament to discuss the issue.

CORD said in the statement it had engaged with the government in talks over the dispute for three days and that "70 per cent of the sticking points have been agreed upon."

But it said the ongoing talks were not sufficient to guarantee success in reforming the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC).

The IEBC has denied bias and its members have said they will not quit.

The opposition criticised the commission after the last presidential election, in 2013, when it fumbled technology to identify voters and transmit results from polling stations.

Kenyatta said on Friday he would not directly participate in the talks himself, even as legislators from his ruling coalition hold dialogue with CORD.

"I have no business sitting down with you (CORD)," he said while speaking in Tala town, near Nairobi.

(Reporting by Humphrey Malalo; Writing by Elias Biryabarema; Editing by Robin Pomeroy)

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