Kenya Prepares for March 2013 Elections

Kenyan officials have recently made two significant statements regarding the security and integrity of presidential elections next March. Kenya’s last presidential elections, in 2007, were marred by violence.

On the security of the March 2013 elections:

Kenya has been hit by several explosions since it sent troops into Somalia to crush al Shabaab militants in October.

A separatist group [the Mombasa Republican Council] has threatened to boycott and disrupt voting if the government does not give in to their demand for secession for Kenya’s Indian Ocean coastal strip, centred on the tourist centre and port city of Mombasa.

President Mwai Kibaki has rejected their demand.

“Voting centres are naturally crowded and could be an easy target if our security is not alert. That already is a scare factor to anyone wishing to leave their house to vote,” said Ahmed Isaack Hassan, chairman of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), which will oversee the vote.

View the IEBC’s website here.

On the integrity (and security) of the elections:

The chairman of Kenya’s National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) said a two-day nationwide discussion on ensuring next year’s elections are free, fair and transparent begins Monday.
Mzalendo Kibunja said there is also need to bolster security ahead of the vote following recent attacks often blamed on the Somali-based Islamist group al-Shabab.
“One of the things that is going to happen to those forums today and tomorrow is where members of each of the counties will come together and say these are the requirements to make sure there is [a] free and fair and peaceful general election,” continued Mzalendo.”
“Those resolutions will then come to the national conference on [the] 30th and 31st in [the capital] Nairobi and from there we would now develop a national strategy to make sure that we have free, fair and peaceful general election.”

View the NCIC’s website here.

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