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Four causes of worry as Kenya heads to elections

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1. Ethnic Politics

Just like in 2007, the presidential campaigns of the two front runners, the incumbent President Uhuru Kenyatta and former Prime Minister Raila Odinga, has been deeply polarised into ethnic lines.

Every contender has given strongholds mostly shown by the voting patterns based on the tribal affiliations. With the polls not showing clear winner, some people are already moving their families from ethnically mixed neighborhoods in areas anticipated to be flash points of violence.

2. The Judiciary

There have been many courts cases concerning the elections with the National Super Alliance mostly preferred the use of courts to fight any type of concern they had over IEBC. It is worth to note that after the president accused the Judiciary of being partial and being used by NASA to try push forward elections date, many cases have gone IEBC’ s way.

The NASA coalition has also made it clear that in case they lose in a non-transparent election, they won’t resort to the courts like they did in 2013 to contest the elections, where they lost the case based on late evidence. This means that in case they feel the election is rigged, they would head to the court of public opinion, which means hitting the streets. The government seems to be prepared for this with the continued purchase of crowd control weapons.

3. IEBC misconduct

The conduct of IEBC in preparation to the election had been a matter of concern. There has been lack of transparency in its preparations. It took IEBC a long tussle between them and NASA to publish the audit report. The report had shown some loopholes that would be used to rig the elections, some which the commission is yet to deal with.

The registry of voters has also been a matter of concern, where one voter has had to go to court to compel IEBC to make the registry public.

It was established that IEBC went against guidelines that provides for publishing 1% extra ballot papers, instead they printed 1.2 million more papers which is over 6% of the needed numbers. This has caused several concerns among Kenyans and even some of the presidential candidates. One of the presidential candidates, Dr Ekuru Aukot has intensively questioned the IEBC over the matter.

4. Claims of rigging

Kenyans are headed to the polls in barely a week’s time, with the 2007 post-election violence still clear on several people’s minds it is a hard time with the credibility of the election not assured. These are several concerns that might be indicators of bad times ahead:

There have been several claims by the NASA coalition of the intention of the ruling coalition to rig the forthcoming polls. The latest in a series of the claims has been the intention of the government to use the military in their plans to rig elections. Even though the government has vehemently denied the allegations, there are several questions that go unanswered.

The government claims that KDF will be deployed to offer security during polls as per the constitution but not for rigging as claimed by NASA. Raila however, insists that he has evidence of the military and police involvement in the alleged plot.

At the moment the noise and dance which is the characteristics of the ongoing campaign goes on. As Kenyans we can only pray things turn out well, that we will be given free, fair and credible polls.

NEXT: What a Raila win would mean for Kenya

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