UPDATE, 5 pm MDT: The election seems to be on NEXT Wednesday, June 18. The writing in some of these stories from the foreign press is sometimes difficult to follow. I happened to come across a story from The Daily Nation in Kenya, dated June 11, which says the ballots are safely “sleeping” in the voting districts while awaiting the election. So, from that, I gather that the election will be NEXT Wednesday! Sorry for the confusion! I’ll keep track of developments over the next week…and especially those “sleeping” ballots!
NOTE: The election DID happen on June 11. See later posts on the results. GRL)
Five seats in Parliament are up for grabs in Kenya’s by-elections being held today (Wednesday, June 11. As reported by Afrol News:
KENYA SET FOR CRUCIAL BY-ELECTIONS
afrol News, 10 June – Kenyans will once again return to the polls on Wednesday to elect five members of parliament in what has been dubbed crucial by-elections.
The elections will allow the Grand Coalition partners – Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) and Party of National Unity (PNU) – to battle control over parliament.
Bi-elections will also be held in 52 civic awards whose results had been challenged. The deadline for all political campaigns expired on Monday.
A dispute over Kenya’s presidential election results in December soon snowballed into “ethnic cleansing” that claimed several lives, including two elected MPs in Embakasi and Ainamoi, Melitus Were and David Too. Both MPs were shot dead at the height of the political violence.
Due to the violence that claimed over 1,000 lives and displaced tens of thousands, results of some constituencies could not be announced.
The upcoming elections have already taken tribal connotation, with some tribes rejecting nominated candidates in areas they considered their ancestral land. For instance, the nomination of ODM’s Jonathan Ngéno, who hailed from the Kipsigis community, had forced the Maasais to rally behind the PNU sponsored candidate, Gideon Konchella.
The ugly scenario is a complete deviation from Prime Minister Raila Odinga’s belief that “I want to see a Kenya where people are not judged on their tribal affiliations but on the content of their character.”