from MARIA MACHARIA in Nairobi, Kenya
NAIROBI, (CAJ News) – THE ratcheting up of inflammatory political rhetoric ahead of Kenya’s polls could hamper the conduct of elections, the business environment and ultimately the economy.
Mkenya Daima, multi-stakeholder platform advocating for peaceful elections, raised concern as the East African’s elections on Tuesday are projected to be the most fiercely contested since the transition to multi-party politics in 1991.
The Mkenya Daima Steering Committee noted that while candidates during this year’s campaigns had been more peaceful than previous election years, political temperatures rose last week.
The Kenya Kwanza (Kenya First) alliance of current vice president and presidential hopeful, William Ruto, alleged a plot by the government to pit Kenyans along ethnic lines.
“Mkenya Daima, therefore, appeals to all presidential candidates and all other political aspirants in these elections to rein in their utterances, which might be interpreted as designed to create division and strife among Kenyans,” the organisation stated.
Apart from 2013, East Africa’s largest economy has always suffered a slowing down of growth in all other election years and taken time to recover.
Mkenya Daima noted this year’s elections come at a time when economies are reeling from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Kenya and the Horn of Africa are undergoing the worst drought in 40 years.
The Ukraine – Russia war has led to high food, fuel, and fertilizer prices.
“It is therefore important that elections do not add to the high cost of living that is being felt worldwide and here at home,” Mkenya Daima noted.
The International Monetary Fund projects the Kenyan economy to grow by 5,7 percent in 2022.
The non-partisan formed was in 2012 with the purpose of inspiring peaceful polls and transition.
Kenya suffered its worst post-election violence in 2008 when Mwai Kibaki was announced winner ahead of Raila Odinga.
Over 1 200 died and 600 000 were displaced
Odinga is this year contesting for a fifth time, leading the Azimio la Umoja–One Kenya coalition party.
The 2017 elections were also controversial. Courts overturned Uhuru Kenyatta’s win after incidents of vote rigging. Odinga pulled out of the rescheduled polls alleging impartiality by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission.
– CAJ News