There is a growing fear that Kenya might be a witness to violence again due to elections. In 2008, a dispute in elections had led to an unrest that caused the death of over a thousand people. Opposition Leader, Raila Odinga stated that if the electoral authorities did not ensure a proper process, there could be a repeat of the incident.
Odinga also added that the unrest would be almost uncontrollable, despite the fact that people don’t want to see such an event take place all over again. The aged former minister will be contesting against President Uhuru Kenyatta, who could possibly enter his second term in the country. Kenya’s elections have always been a source of anxiety, especially among investors. In 2008, a disagreement concerning the election results led to a cycle of violence that lasted two months. Apart from the 1000 deaths, 350,000 people had to leave their homes in search of safety. The incident event caused the country’s economy to dip to 1.7% from 7.1%.
Odinga sent out a statement asking concerned groups to prevent a repeat of the incident. He emphasized the fact that prevention would be the only choice as control would be much more difficult. He also added that he would not be able to stop any violence if it took place. Odinga’s warnings don’t come in vain. His party, the National Super Alliance, believes that there is something unpleasant afoot. Their doubts stem from the fact that the Independent Electoral & Boundaries Commission (IEBC) fired two of its officials in the same week. The first one to go was the Head of the Procurement Office, which is yet to collect 130 million ballot papers meant for various elections that are to take place soon.
Other than the dismissals, there is also the fact that the political climate in the country is heavily polarized. According to the National Democratic Institute, the IEBC delayed appointing new members, which caused problems in terms of effectively organizing the elections. The opposition has stated that it would be willing for a change in the voting date if it meant that there would be no risk of violence and that the election would be credible. According to polls, the competition between Odinga and Kenyatta is tight. Projections suggest that Kenyatta might take 47% of the votes while Odinga will come very close with 42%.