East African citizens on edge as Kenyans prepare for transition election

Many recall the last disturbances in Kenya of 2007-08 when life came to a standstill in Nairobi, with trucks unable to ferry fuel to neighbouring countries, life in Kampala, Kigali and Bujumbura came to a standstill

By The Weekly Vision Online

Residents of other East African countries are anxiously following political events in Kenya as the country prepares for elections in August 2022 to pick the country’s 5th president.

All the neighbours have conducted polls and concluded and it’s the turn for East Africa’s largest economy to pick its leaders next year. While the country has largely held four peaceful transitions elections since 1978 when the founding president Jomo Kenyatta died in office, political turbulence since 1992 has remained a cause for grave concern.

Kenyan has since moved on, arch enemies have mended fences, president Uhuru Kenyatta is serving his second and last term in office

But the worst post-election aftermath remains the deadly 2007-08 bungled presidential election that triggered ethnically driven violence. Veteran opposition leader and four-time presidential contender Raila Odinga claimed his “victory” was “stolen” by a complicit electoral commission led by Samuel Kivuitu in 2007.

A blood bath then followed with the epi-centre being the Rift valley, leaving 1,350 people killed with at least 37 women and children burnt alive in a church in Eldoret. The country has since moved on, arch enemies have mended fences, president Uhuru Kenyatta is serving his second and last term in office and is said to be rooting for Raila Odinga as his preferred successor and is opposed to his deputy William Ruto.

Uhuru has thrown his weight behind a major political coalition (still being crafted) that brings together key opposition leaders. William Ruto laughs on the other hand has laughed off the threat. Other East Africans are alive to the heavily tribal-based politics of Kenya and are worried that should anything go wrong, it could have devastating consequences. Parties in Kenya are all about “big” and “small” tribes a fact that has remained a stark reality since independence.

Many recall the last disturbances of 2007-08 when life came to a standstill in Nairobi. With trucks unable to ferry fuel to neighbouring countries, life in Kampala, Kigali and Bujumbura came to a standstill, they are thus praying and hoping for a peaceful transition election that assures them of a continued political stability Kenya has largely enjoyed since independence from Britain in 1963.

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