from MARIA MACHARIA in Nairobi, Kenya
NAIROBI, (CAJ News) – THE humanitarian community is bracing itself for the worst as Kenya heads towards general elections in August.
This marks the sixth general election cycle since the introduction of multi-party democracy in the East African country.
As the election campaign continues since resumption in April, the International Federation of the Red Cross (IFRC) and Red Crescent Societies warned that based on the experience of previous elections, there is a potential for heightened tension leading to disturbances.
The IFRC has thus allocated CHF 189,070 (US$188 762) to the Kenya Red Cross to be prepared to support potentially affected communities.
The support is under the Disaster Response Emergency Fund (DREF).
More than 1 000 people were killed, 3 500 others injured and 650 000 displaced during the worst election violence in Kenya, in 2007/08.
Mwai Kibaki (now late) was announced the winner for a second term ahead of opposition leader, Raila Odinga, triggering conflict.
The 2017 electoral process were less violent but there were more than 100 reported deaths after Uhuru Kenyatta retained power.
Courts annulled the outcome after noting discrepancies.
Kenyatta defeated close rival, Odinga, in the rescheduled poll.
The IFRC said with regards to the upcoming elections, and especially during the recent by-elections across the country, incidences of inter-communal conflict and displacement had been observed.
“While the priority is to support peace-building and prevention efforts, previous outbreaks of violence have demonstrated the importance of planning for potential humanitarian response activities,” the agency stated.
Polls are scheduled for August 9.
Kenyatta is ineligible to pursue a third term.
The polls are thus projected to be a two-horse race between Odinga and current deputy president, William Ruto.
Five other potential candidates declined to contest but have thrown their weight behind the two men.
More than 15,59 million voters participated in the last election, representing a turnout of 79,5 percent.
– CAJ News