Kenya leader warns against violence as poll fever hits

NAIROBI (AFP) – Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta warned yesterday against violence as election season gets into full swing, with chaotic party primaries already leading to bloody scuffles.

East Africa’s largest economy holds a general election on August 8, a decade after disputed polls fuelled violence that left more than 1,100 dead and hundreds of thousands displaced.

“As a party, we will not tolerate violence. As president, I will also not tolerate violence and anybody who engages in acts of violence will be dealt with in accordance with the law, irrespective of who they are,” Kenyatta told a press conference in Nairobi.

Kenyatta is seeking a second term in office with his Jubilee Party. Opposition heavyweights including his longtime rival Raila Odinga have united in a coalition called NASA, but have yet to pick a flag-bearer with a little over three months to the vote.

However, the country is already gripped by election fever and primaries to choose candidates for local government and parliament have seen violence and dramatic last-minute floor-crossings.

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta delivering a speech in Nairobi. - AFP
Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta delivering a speech in Nairobi. – AFP