Kenyans are leaving the capital Nairobi in droves for their rural areas, which they consider safer ahead of next week’s elections. Transport companies report booming business as voters travel back to their villages.
The Kenyan general election is just days away and for transport operators, business couldn’t be better. Many are going back to their rural homes because that is where they were registered to vote.
Paul Ouma, a bus operator, told CGTN Africa: “Most of us we are going to vote, that’s the main thing we have in this August holiday, we are going to vote because some of us have taken out from many many places like Central Nyanza, Southern Nyanza, most of us have taken our votes at home.”
For some its an issue of safety. Unfortunately, this year’s vote has many of the same tell-tale signs that marked the 2007 post-election violence. These include low public confidence in the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission, the appearance of a partisan judiciary, and a tightening race between opposition leader Raila Odinga and President Uhuru Kenyatta.
Karanaja Bibicho, a permanent secretary of the Interior Ministry told CGTN Africa: “We have also had a season where there is a lot of spread of fear by politicians especially, which is making some Kenyans choose to live where they stay to their villages where they perceive its more peaceful. And I think from the government end the best we will do is to assure Kenyans that they need to stay calm they need to stay where they are registered as voters and they need to trust that we shall protect them to actually vote.”
Both leaders have said elections will be peaceful and security has been beefed up. But regardless of those assurances, the exodus continues.