Kenyan Voting Process Going “Relatively Well”

Kenya Election Voting Process

The presidential election is underway in Kenya and so far the voting process has been relatively smooth, which by Kenyan electoral standards means fewer than a dozen police officers were hacked to death by machete-wielding gangs.

Millions of Kenyans are casting their vote today in what is being proclaimed a crucial presidential race, the first since the disastrous 2007 election that resulted in widespread bloodshed. Elections in 2007 went awry when a disputed result and even more disputed process sparked ethnic clashes and killed more than 1,000 people.

While all eyes are on the presidential race this time around, Kenyans are also choosing members of parliament and senators, county governors and members of 47 county assemblies. Although eight presidential candidates are running, the contest is essentially a two-horse race between Prime Minister Odinga and Uhuru Kenyatta. Fun fact: Uhuru Kenyatta will face trial at the International Criminal Court in The Hague over the 2007 post-election violence.

Kenya’s top politicians are urging millions of voters to avoid mayhem similar to that between the tribal loyalists and rival candidates during the country’s previous elections but many citizens are worried history could repeat itself. Some have stocked up on supplies in case of post-election riots and many have fled ethnically mixed urban areas, fearing reprisal killings should the election results be disputed.

Yet, despite the long lines and the painstakingly slow process, the current election has been going relatively well compared to 2007. Well, anything looks orderly compared to 2007… so I wouldn’t necessarily call this a success story yet, especially since this year’s voting process has seen its own share of violence.

“Hiccups” along the way include:

  • A group of 200 secessionists armed with guns, machetes and bows and arrows set a trap for police in the pre-dawn hours, killing at least five officers
  • Another attack by MRC secessionists in nearby Kilifi killed one police officer and five attackers
  • Three explosions in three different polling stations in Mandera

Despite all this, the current violence is still no match for what happened during the previous round of presidential elections in 2007. I guess when you set the bar that low, there’s nowhere to go but up? Good luck Kenya.

Via: The New York Times

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