Election anxiety in Kenya …

January 22, 2013

Kenya is starting to get tense in the lead up to the elections scheduled for March 4. Last week,  parties were to nominate their candidates. Administrative delays and many allegations of improprieties in the process have led to skirmishes, accusations and some violent confrontations in various parts of the country.

After the 2008 election the country fell into chaos with ethnic rivalry and mistrust being the flash point. Since that election there have been many strange realignments of previous rivals which may have diffused the tribal separations somewhat. But the redistribution of voting districts and realignment of party alliances has resulted in fierce competition to gain party nomination. Several sitting MP’s appear to have lost out and thereby will be stripped of their power, authority and privileges. This has not sat well with some.

Kenyan politics would make a good soap opera. But for the average citizen elections become times of tension, desperation and guarded hope that things will slowly improve. The country is still suffering from the disturbances that followed the election in December 2007. One has to hope that the democratic process will be allowed to grow without causing another debacle in March when the country goes to the polls.

Today, I head to Mbita via Kisumu, an area where there have been some significant disruptions. I am hoping that the hot tempers of the past few days will have cooled off somewhat and that calm will prevail in the upcoming weeks.