Humanitarians wary of Kenya poll bloodshed

From MARIA MACHARIA ,
NAIROBI, (CAJ News) – RELIEF agencies are making frantic efforts to raise funds in response to deadly violence projected to result from upcoming polls in Kenya.The East African country, which is preparing for elections on August 8,has a history of violent polls dating back to 1992 when the country adopted multi-party politics.
It is experiencing a charged atmosphere reminiscent of the post-election violence that led to the death of 1 300 people and the displacement of over 600 000 in 2007/08.The Kenya Red Cross Society (KRCS) said violence was expected in 18 of the 47 counties (geographic units) in the country. The European Union election observer mission also expressed fears of skirmishes before, during or after the elections.
Already, active conflict has been experienced in Baringo, which is one of the hotspots, leading to 47 deaths, 16 injuries and over 49 000 people displaced.
Sporadic incidents have also been witnessed in Bungoma, Homa Bay, Isiolo, Kisumu, Mandera, Migori, the capital Nairobi and Uasin Gishu.There have been counter-allegations of vote rigging between the camps of main rivals, President Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila Odinga.
KRCS said many issues that led to the large-scale outbreak of violence in 2007 elections remained thorny.
These include historical injustices including ancestral land rights,economic inequalities, skewed allocation of national resources, lack of political inclusivity and perceived dominance of certain ethnic communities.
KRCS seeks over KSh28 million (R3,5 million) to preposition essential emergency relief supplies ahead of the violence feared to emanate.
“The proposed operation aims at timely and effective response to the needs of those affected by election related conflict through the provision of first aid, emergency medical services, temporary shelter, health and
hygiene services,” said a spokesperson.
– CAJ News

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