Kenya’s fiercely contested presidential election on August 8 will take place under heavy security. As many as 180,000 police officers have been deployed across the country to prevent violence.
Voters will choose between incumbent Uhuru Kenyatta and veteran challenger Raila Odinga.
As reported by The Guardian, the country is bracing for widespread unrest whoever wins, after a campaign marred by hundreds of violent incidents – including the murder of a high-profile election official – issues with new voting technology and widespread concerns about fraud.
It was reported that thousands of city dwellers have been returning to their home towns to wait out the aftermath of the poll in relative safety. Others have been stocking up on provisions in case of trouble. Streets have emptied and business has slowed.
Around 19 million voters, half of whom are under 35, have been registered. Prisoners can vote for the first time.
Nic Cheeseman, a professor of African politics at Birmingham University, said both candidates were so certain of victory that they may have “talked themselves into a corner” in which defeat is not an option.
“The question is not whether or not they will accept the result but what they will do when they don’t accept it,” he told Agence France-Presse.
In a separate report, Deutsche Welle (DW), Germany’s international broadcaster, noted that Kenyatta boasts a huge number of followers on Twitter and Facebook. He recently engaged with his followers in a Facebook live chat, during which they could ask him anything.