General elections will take place across Kenya on Wednesday, August 8, with the electoral commission scheduled to announce the preliminary results before August 15. The Supreme Court will then be given time to consider any appeals related to the initial results, with the final results expected to be released before October 5.
Increased security is to be anticipated across the country (particularly in major urban hubs) in the coming weeks as the campaign period, which began on May 28, continues. Political rallies and demonstrations are expected, and outbreaks of violence cannot be ruled out.
Kenya's primary elections, which took place between April 13 and April 30, were marked by violence and numerous irregularities. More than 60 people were charged with electoral offenses following chaos and violence during party primaries. In Nairobi, one person was killed and another seriously injured during clashes between rival candidates. Similar violent scenes were reported in Migori and Busia (west), both areas that largely support the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM), an opposition party lead by Raila Odinga. In Kisumu county, security forces reportedly used teargas to disperse hundreds of protesters that erected roadblocks and burned tires following the announcement of the county's election results on April 26. The Kenyan National Police Service has announced plans to recruit 10,000 additional police officers ahead of the August 8 elections.
Presidential elections in 2007 were also marred by violence, resulting in an estimated 1200 deaths. Protests after elections in 2013, which were undermined by claims of fraud after many of the electronic voting systems failed, resulted in several deaths.
Meanwhile, Kenya has more recently experienced increasingly frequent bouts of sociopolitical and socioeconomic unrest, sectarian tensions, and inter-communal violence. The country has witnessed major demonstrations by public and private sector workers, as well as by opposition parties, in recent months. Security forces often use a heavy-handed approach in quelling protests.
Individuals in Kenya are advised to avoid all public gatherings (particularly polling stations or political events) due to the risk of violence and to monitor the situation. Additionally, those undertaking long-distance travel within the country are advised to consider traveling via plane (rather than ground travel) to minimize exposure to security threats.
On separate note, due to the significant terrorist threat, individuals present in Kenya are advised to remain vigilant, to report any suspicious objects or behavior to the relevant authorities, and to be particularly cautious when visiting sites deemed particularly likely to be targeted in an attack (government buildings, places of worship, tourist sites, etc.).
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