In Nairobi, Desperate Somalis Pack up as Fear of Poll Violence Emerges

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Friday August 04, 2017 - 11:49:16 in Latest News by SomaliUpdate Staff Reporter
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    In Nairobi, Desperate Somalis Pack up as Fear of Poll Violence Emerges

    NAIROBI (Somali Update Online) — Thousands of Somalis living in Kenya's capital city, Nairobi have expressed concern over imminent post-election violence following mass exodus of other Kenyans from the major cities to home areas for fears

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Somali woman sits while other stands near kiosks in Eastleigh neighborhood in Nairobi. | File photo.
NAIROBI (Somali Update Online) — Thousands of Somalis living in Kenya's capital city, Nairobi have expressed concern over imminent post-election violence following mass exodus of other Kenyans from the major cities to home areas for fears of possible clashes during and after next week's poll.
Unknown number of Kikuyus, the same tribe of incumbent Uhuru Kenyatta and the main opposition leader’s Luo tribe have left the city in fear of violence that may erupt if the result of August 8 polls is disputed.
Those Somalis who have relatives in Somali dominated region, North-Eastern are moving with their children to Garissa, Wajir, Mandera and as far as other upcountry areas.
Mohamed Abdi Hashi, over 10-years businessman in the city, is with his wife Khali Osman and their kids at E-Coach Bus station in Nairobi's Somali-dominated district, Eastleigh expecting to catch the bus heading to Mandera, a town near Kenya’s-Somalia border, before August 5th.
"I closed my shop and left house this afternoon to catch the bus departing tonight so that I leave the city before next Tuesday (The day Kenya heads the poll). We are not Kikuyus or Luo, why do we fall victims,” Hashi said.
Kenya's main opposition leader Raila Odinga addresses supporters during a campaign rally. | Courtesy.
Barely four days before millions of Kenyans cast their votes in a hotly contested election, both the two main parties vowing to get upper hand which prompted mass influx, women and children being the majority of the travelers.
Ploy to rig the vote
National Super Alliance (NASA) flag-bearer, Raila Odinga who is giving the poll his last shot has said that there is ploy from the ruling party to rig the election accusing the national army (KDF) of trying to transport marked ballot papers to rural parts of the country.
"They are planning to transport ballot papers to rural areas, code named Special Transit Goods or STG. They will register telephone lines in the names of dead soldiers,” NASA leader said.
Kenya's incumbent President Uhuru Kenyatta addressing supporters in Mombasa during a campaign rally. | Photo courtesy.
Both political camps Jubilee (the ruling party) and NASA (the main opposition) are confident of victory which diminishes the hope of peaceful elections as the supporters of parties can involve violence if something goes against their wishes.
Lessons learnt 07-08 post election unrest
In 2007-2008, the disputed presidential election that saw Mwai Kibaki as the elected-president led an explosion of violence that has killed hundreds including dozens burnt alive while seeking sanctuary in church.
After Mwai Kibaki was declared the winner, thousand of Raila and Kibaki supporters clashed leading the wide-country unrest.
Due to what the country witnessed during 07-08 post election, many Kenyans opted to move to safety areas, preferably their hometowns.
Ramla Ali Farah who moved from her residence in a Luo-dominated Kibera neigborhood is living with a relative family in Eastliegh, Nairobi citing that the landlord informed them to shift as the polls result can lead violence and inter-clan clashes.
"The owner of the House who is Luo had informed us to move to another place for our safety because his home was attacked during 2007-2008 post-election violence,” Farah explained.
A file photo from January, 2008 shows the violence that consumed Nairobi following contested elections.
Tightened security during 2017 poll
The security agencies and political leaders are urging people to stay and vote peacefully in the city.
Inspector-General of Police Joseph Boinnet said his officers would do means and ways to protect all Kenyans irrespective of political affiliation and urged those fleeing towns to return and vote in the cities.
"We shall be responsive to all the needs of our people. In instances where there is requirement that we respond robustly we will be in strict conformity of the law,” he said at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre where he was with the Permenant Secretary of Kenya’s Interior Ministry Dr Karanja Kibicho and Government Spokesman Eric Kiraithe.
Voters in the East African nation of a population of 49 million will pick their president, members of parliament and regional authorities.
Incumbent President Uhuru Kenyatta is facing off against long-time rival Raila Odinga, who heads the main opposition.

By Ahmed Mohamed Adan
Somali Update Online


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