Res­i­dents fear re­newed vi­o­lence at Kenyan poll

The Star Early Edition - - WORLD -

KENYAN fam­i­lies are flee­ing com­mu­ni­ties worst hit by deadly vi­o­lence a decade ago in fear of a re­peat of blood­shed dur­ing elec­tions set for next month.

The trend has been noted in the cen­tral Nakuru county’s Naivasha area, the epi­cen­tre of the skir­mishes 10 years ago.

This comes in the wake of threats and in­tim­i­da­tion ahead of the polls.

Naivasha was among the ar­eas most af­fected by the 2007-2008 post-elec­tion vi­o­lence. The in­ter-eth­nic ri­val­ries over land and power, stoked by politi­cians, left more than 1 100 peo­ple dead.

More than 650 000 peo­ple were dis­placed across the coun­try. Some at­tacks and killings were never in­ves­ti­gated or pros­e­cuted.

A re­cur­rence is feared with many peo­ple in Naivasha de­scrib­ing threats and in­tim­i­da­tion among com­mu­nity mem­bers. They claim po­lice failed to in­ves­ti­gate, pros­e­cute culprits or pro­tect res­i­dents.

Hu­man Rights Watch (HRW) said it doc­u­mented at least six in­ci­dents of direct threats against op­po­si­tion sup­port­ers.

Sup­port­ers said a group of young men in the Ki­namba and Ki­hoto neigh­bour­hoods of Naivasha, be­lieved to be be­hind some of the pre­vi­ous vi­o­lence, had warned them to stay away from polling places if they did not in­tend to vote for Pres­i­dent Uhuru Keny­atta’s Ju­bilee party.

Ot­sieno Namwaya, Africa re­searcher at HRW, said au­thor­i­ties must ur­gently in­ves­ti­gate al­le­ga­tions of threats and in­tim­i­da­tion.


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