This week has seen a growing number of people at the ‘Machakos’ bus station which is in the outskirts of Nairobi’s CBD.
The scenario is replicated in other major matatu stages with passengers scrumming for ticket as thousands leave the city and head to their rural homes before the Tuesday, August 8 polls.
There is a rising tension in this electioneering period, ten years after 1,200 people died in post-election chaos thanks to a hotly disputed election. It has been worsened by the torture and murder of a senior election commission official this past weekend.
“I won’t risk my life by staying in Nairobi,” George Omondi, a printing company worker said as quoted by the Star. He was taking his wife and children back to their home village of Oyugis in Nyanza.
“I’m going to my village and will stay there until after results are announced. We feel safer at home.” He said pushing through a hoard of people to board a bus at Nairobi’s central bus station.
Kenyans will be headed to the polls in three days’ time to elect a president, governors, senators, members of parliament including women representatives and country reps.
President Uhuru Kenyatta is fighting it out with long-time rival Raila Odinga of the National Super Alliance (NASA), with the latter insisting that the ruling party is hell bent on rigging the elections.
The former Prime Minister recently told Reuters at a campaign rally that the only way for Kenyatta to win the forthcoming election was by stealing.
President Kenyatta responded to the claims by asking Raila to present the evidence.
“The electoral commission has told us that they have put in place all the necessary arrangements to ensure there will be no rigging, but he keeps insisting so maybe he should tell us how,” Uhuru told Reuters at a campaign rally in Kitui.
The government acknowledged that indeed many were nervous but says a strong150,000 officers from the police and other agencies including the wildlife, forest and prison services to secure the 40,883 polling stations.
“There is a lot of spread of fear … which is making some Kenyans choose to leave where they stay to go to their villages where they perceive it is more peaceful,” senior interior ministry official Karanja Kibicho told journalists.