By Vitalis Kimutai and Isaiah Lucheli
Key players in ensuring next yearâs elections that will see President Kibaki replaced at State House are not quite comfortable that the ground is smooth enough for a peaceful polling.
Top on their list of worries is the ethnic angle that political rivalries and campaigns are taking as well Acting Head of Civil Service Francis Kimemia [Photo:File/Standard]
Acting Head of Civil Service Francis Kimemia [Photo:File/Standard]
as the perceived role of a partisan media, and re-emergence of terror gangs like the one that flushed out elections officials during a âmock electionâ in Malindi last month.
A UN agency warned one of the biggest dangers in the election countdown could be the merger between ethnicised politics and the ongoing trials of four Kenyans for crimes against humanity at The Hague.
Acting Head of Civil Service Francis Kimemia, whose office oversees security in and out of election period, outlined crucial challenges and early warning signs the transition elections may not be that rosy.
He listed the biggest challenges to a secure election as negative ethnicity and re-mergence of criminal gangs and militias during electioneering period. "Several internal and external challenges face Kenya and pose serious security and safety threats even as we prepare for the General Elections," Kimemia admitted during the launch of Uwiano Strategic Leadership and Peace Agenda for 2012 and Beyond.
"Ethnicisation of politics, food shortage, criminal gangs and militias that emerge during electioneering periods remain a threat to a peaceful election," he added as he painted a grim picture of what could be awaiting the country.
His fears were reiterated by UNDP Resident Representative Mr Aeneas Chuma who said his organisation is concerned about some critical issues that need to be collectively addressed as the country moves closer to election. "I am concerned with heightened political activities and rhetoric that may serve to foment conflict and violence as elections draw closer," Chuma said.
"The likelihood of increased ethnicisation of political debates, rise in number of armed groups and militias, the International Criminal Court process and conflicts associated with Devolution process in cosmopolitan counties remain worrisome," UNDP warned.
Speaking at separate function Independent Electoral Commission chairman Isaack Hassan said: "In Kenya, there is no election cycle as the country is always on an election mood but the media must rise to the occasion at this crucial time and offer civic education."