Today was the presidential election in Kenya. Polls officially closed at 5:00pm local time (9:00am EST).
In our last update, we explained that after the last presidential election in 2007, an estimated 1,000 people were killed and 600,000 people displaced due to election-related violence.
Today’s reports say violence occurred in three or four towns in eastern Kenya and that police officers were targeted in those attacks. At least 15 people are reported dead.
There is a long history of distrust among Kenyan people when it comes to government. Corruption in government has been a popular allegation, especially since the 2007 presidential election. But even before 2007, rural areas of Kenya have been marginalized and excluded from security interventions by government. During colonization in the early 20th century, the British even tried to give away a large section of desert land to Uganda, but Uganda declined.
In recent years, the government has made steps to assist marginalized areas of Kenya. In 2010, President Kibaki signed a new constitution that states a percentage of the country’s revenue will be distributed to marginalized areas of Kenya. These are positive steps to repair the damaged relationship between government and rural, nomadic people, but we expect it will take time before the nomadic people can trust its government.
Please continue to keep the Daylight staff and students, and the whole nation of Kenya in your thoughts and prayers in the coming weeks as election results are announced.