The police seem to be preparing well for the August polls following a violence prediction by the European Union (EU) election observers and mapping of potentially explosive areas.
Chief Observer Marietje Schaake noted on Monday that, “it is no secret there are concerns about the possible outbreak of violence. This is not inevitable and it is clear that this would create a situation where everyone loses.”
Following this, the Kenya Police have named ten hotspots in Nairobi that could be greatly affected during election which include: Landhies Road, Umoja, Kariobangi, Dandora, Kayole, Kiambiu, Githogoro, Kibera, Mathare Mukuru slums, Dagorretti, Kawangware, Buruburu, Globe Cinema, Kangemi, Ngara, Marurui and Korogocho.
However, as advised by EU, “The security and safety of elections depends on respective bodies. There is a responsibility for everyone to grant each other the right and safety to vote according to his or her conscience.”
To stay safe, consider the following tips just in case.
Stay alert: Always have your ears on the ground, and be aware of escape routes just in case, because the major roads become impassable during such times. Trust your intuition and report to the security services anything unusual that causes you to suspect that a malicious act is about to take place (it is better to be mistaken than to regret not having acted).
Follow the instructions of the authorities in the event of a threat, for example if you are asked to evacuate the premises. Also, learn how to administer first aid to an injured person.
Evacuation: Do not stay with your family in town and volatile areas during this time. Help them travel to safer places one week before elections. Also, stay ready to evacuate anytime with extra money for survival and fare. In such times, everything is expensive, and so will be your survival. Keep your documents in a safe place and have a back-up copy either on your mail or cloud store.
Communication: Keep in touch with family and friends during this time, and have a phone that can store charge for long. If possible, have a conventional phone (mulika mwizi) that can survive extremes. You can buy extra airtime or load your mobile money service with enough money for use during such times when most shops will be closed. If you cannot afford extra cash, you can buy text bundles that will last you a month to keep you in touch with friends.
Shopping: As earlier stated, most shops close doors during elections in gear of violence. If you wait to buy basic commodities during that time, you may have to suffer with your money or buy them at exuberant prices. To be on the safe side, buy food, fuel, refill your gas and other commodities early in advance. As you buy food, it is advised that you buy non-perishable foodstuffs that do not require refrigeration.
Transportation: For those with cars, ensure it is well serviced and has full tank fuel before elections. Also have at least two spare tyres and a fully equipped toolbox. For those without personal cars, have enough fare and know safer places to pick public transport home.
Volatile places: Avoid staying in volatile places during elections, especially if you don’t belong there. Last year, the National Cohesion and Integration and Commission fingered 19 counties where violence could occur during the election. The regions listed were Nairobi, Kisumu, Mombasa, Nakuru, Uasin Gishu, Narok, Kericho, Kisii, Homa Bay, Isiolo, Turkana, Bungoma, Kiambu, Kilifi, Lamu, Migori, Baringo and West Pokot.
Note: This piece, inspired by Bamburi Cement circular to its staff, is not authored to cause fear among Kenyans, but to preach resilience. Business Today is an ambassador of peace, and is advocating peaceful elections in August.