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Parties wrap up campaigns ahead of Kenyan presidential election


Parties wrap up campaigns ahead of Kenyan presidential election

Photo:AP/Ben Curtis
Photo: AP/Ben Curtis

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta will hold his final campaign rally today in Nairobi ahead of Tuesday’s decisive election. The opposition has questioned the election’s legitimacy due to accusations of the incumbent’s exploitation of military and security services in supporting his campaign.

The chaotic campaign trail, including the recent death of a Kenyatta supporter at a local governorship rally, echoes the communal violence that killed over a thousand after the 2007 presidential contest. At the time, Raila Odinga (who continues to lead the opposition) called for riots when Kenyatta’s Jubilee coalition announced an early victory.

Odinga has now accused Kenyatta’s campaign of staffing election offices with the Kenyan Defence Forces, thus risking military politicization and abuse of force in response to recent street protests. Due to colonial legacies of ethnic separation, Kenya’s elections are often catalysts for ethnic, tribal and clan violence. While Kenyatta and Odinga have attempted to focus the election on economic issues and anti-corruption, expect further ethnic unrest as the campaigns come to a close.

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