Residents fear renewed violence at Kenyan poll
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.