23 January 2013

Kenya: No Violence in Coming Elections - Kenyan Envoy

The Kenyan government is assuring the business community in the region that there will not be any electoral violence this time around due to new measures put in place.

'The business community should carry on with their work and they should not expect any trouble.'

The Kenyan High Commissioner to Rwanda, Makena Muchiri, said in an interview that though the country experienced violence after the 2007 presidential elections this time, the elections, due in March, will be peaceful.

"We want to assure all the people that there is nothing to worry about since the government has put in place different measures to ensure that the elections are free and fair," she said adding, "The business community should carry on with their work and they should not expect any trouble."

Some of the precautionary measures including restructuring the police force, with the appointment of David Mwole Kimaiyo as the Inspector General of Police.

She further added that the Kenyan Defence Forces and other security organs are on high alert to ensure calm during elections.

The two leading candidates in the March 4 elections are Prime Minister Raila Odinga, an ethnic Luo, and Uhuru Kenyatta, a Kikuyu who is likely to go on trial at the International Criminal Court for war crimes allegedly committed during the 2007/08 post-election violence. The last election violence left over 600,000 people displaced following a disputed presidential election and more than 1,200 people were killed.

Ugandan and Rwandan businessmen lost their properties worth US$47.5 million in the violence. Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki promised to compensate the traders who are still waiting.

Most products to and from regional countries go through Mombasa port, the biggest port in the region.

Rwanda mainly relies on Northern Corridor that also serves other countries like Uganda, (Northern) Tanzania, DR Congo and South Sudan, which highlights Kenya's significance in regional trade.

In Rwanda, over 600 Kenyans have registered to participate in the election and they will, for the first time, cast their votes at the Kenyan High Commission in Kigali.

Only Kenyans living in East African countries will participate in presidential election.

President Kibaki, who has led the country since 2002, will step down after the March 4, 2013 general election.

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