Fear stalks Kenya ahead of elections

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International election observer missions have warned of elections chaos risk if there is a perception that the electoral process in Kenya is mismanaged.

The groups, which include the European Union, Kenya’s National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC), as well as several local and civil society organisations, raised these concerns ahead of the 8 August elections.

Kenya has a history of election related violence.

At least 1 500 people were killed during the 2007/8 post-election violence following dispute election results.

The high stake election has some pollsters describing it as a closely fought race between President Uhuru Kenyatta and his main political rival former Prime Minister, Raila Odinga.

This will be the second time that the two go head to head, this time under a more united opposition.

Electoral related violence was witnessed after party primaries in April this year; especially in some of the country’s traditional conflict hot spots.

Human Rights Watch has reported cases of people moving from their homes following fear of attacks.

The election body has moved to allay fears that the polls will free, fair and credible

In the eye of the political storm is the newly constituted Independent Elections and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), which has been accused of not being ready for the polls.

There are contestations on whether the voters register is clean.

Presidential ballot papers are yet to be printed due to a dispute over a printing tender and the opposition has cast doubt on the commission’s ability to deliver a free and fair election.

Civil society organisations also have argued that failure to give timely information to the public by the IEBC has created room for rumour mills and speculation.

The election body has however moved to allay fears that the polls will free, fair and credible.

Despite warnings of elections chaos risk, the Kenyan government says it is ready to secure the country during and after the electoral period.

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– By Sarah Kimani