Kenyans afraid poll violence may occur in 2017: Survey

Fear may be driven by Kenyans' daily experiences of safety and security, survey says

Ekip   | 02.11.2016
Kenyans afraid poll violence may occur in 2017: Survey


By Magdalene Mukami


Seventy percent of Kenyan citizens are afraid that the country may experience another bout of post-election violence during the 2017 general elections, according to a survey Wednesday.

"The high levels of fear about electoral violence may well be driven by Kenyans’ daily experiences of safety and security," a statement from the research firm Twaweza East Africa said.

"The prevalence of insecurity in the country has been an ongoing challenge and almost daily, the media contains reports of criminality and violence."

The report said that even though unrest had been on the decrease since the country’s last elections in March 2013, recent protest activity against the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission in May and June 2016 had spread fear among the public.

Kenya was rocked by post-election violence in December 2007 after Mwai Kibaki was declared president amid allegations by his opponent, former Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga of election malpractice.

According to the Human Rights Watch, the poll clashes left at least 1,133 people dead and 600,000 others displaced.

The survey also noted that on the handling of crimes, six out of 10 citizens (60 percent) believed that the police themselves were the main reason why Kenyans didn’t report crimes, either for fear of being asked for bribes by the police, lack of action witnessed in past events and a scenario where the police themselves were involved in the crime.

While speaking during the launch, Brezhnev Otieno, Advocacy Manager for Kenya, Twaweza said there were differences between "actual instances of crime and people’s fears of insecurity or political violence."

"But perceptions matter. A sense of fear is not a healthy start to Kenya’s electoral period. And the worrying lack of confidence in the police by a majority of citizens further heightens the problem," he said.

2017 general elections are scheduled to be held in August.

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