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Kenya on edge ahead of presidential vote

Monday, August 07, 2017 - 01:55

Kenya is set to vote in presidential elections but two recent incidents bring back dark memories of post-election violence in 2007 which left thousands dead. A resumption of violence risks undoing the recent progress in East Africa's biggest economy. Silvia Antonioli reports.

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The tension is palpable as East Africa's biggest economy is set to vote for a new president Polls put incumbent Uhuru Kenyatta and opposition leader Raila Odinga neck and neck. Whatever the outcome, what Kenyans are hoping for the most, is peace. In 2007, street protests related to vote count triggered ethnic violence. 1-thousand-200 people were killed and 600-thousand displaced. Many now fear this election too could descend into violence. (SOUNDBITE) (English) KENYAN VOTER, KEVIN MUKHANGA, SAYING: "I would ask my fellow Kenyans we remain peaceful, we vote peacefully and let the will of the people be done." The Kenyan economy grew at 5.9% last year- its fastest pace in 5 years. in part thanks to a rebound in tourism and an ambitious public investment. A repeat of the 2007 violence is sure to compromise both. Bringing up bad memories: a key election official was found tortured and murdered a week ago and advisers to the opposition leader were deported and arrested- their laptops seized A key matter of contention is electronic voting and accusations are flying on both sides: (SOUNDBITE) (English) CHAIRMAN OF NATIONAL SUPER ALLIANCE (NASA) CAMPAIGN COMMITTEE, MUSALIA MUDAVADI, SAYING : "We have information that the Jubilee administration plans to switch off Electronic Voter Identification Devices (EVID) in all their strongholds at 12 noon tomorrow. This will then give way to pure manual voting and stuffing of the ballot in the excuse that systems have failed." But hate-speech has been widely absent from large public speeches in both campaigns - Rights groups welcome that as an important difference to 2007 that may bode well for a different outcome.

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Kenya on edge ahead of presidential vote

Monday, August 07, 2017 - 01:55