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Kenya holds historic election

中国日报网 2013-03-05 10:52

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Millions of Kenyans faced a sleepless night as they started lining up under the stars in the early hours on Monday to vote in the historic national election to decide the path this country will take for the next five years.

In a polling station in the Kilimali area of Nairobi at 8 am, lines extended from inside the building to the main road, and they grew longer because of slow voting procedures. But it was a peaceful event, coordinated by inspectors and police.

Unlike previous elections, Kenyans will vote for six positions, including president and local governor, by biometric voting kits, which are designed to avoid election-rigging and delays in announcing winners.

Some election watchers say polling disruption, disorganization, vote-buying and ID card thefts have been verified in certain stations, but generally, the process went well.

But before the election, 12 people, including six police officers, were reportedly killed in an ambush in Mombasa, the large southeast port city. Police said that members of the Mombasa Republican Council, a secessionist group, staged the raid.

In the northeastern Muslim city of Garissa on Sunday, two people were killed, bringing the death toll from election-related violence to 14.

To ensure safety and order, more than 99,000 police officers have been deployed across the country. However, escalated violence and chaos normally follows the release of the election results.

This is the first general election after a new constitution was introduced in 2010 to decentralize political power and prevent a repeat of the 2007-08 post-election violence, which led to more than 1,300 deaths and made 600,000 people homeless.

The violence scarred the country and its people, and it reminded everyone of the importance of having peace and stability in this election, although security concerns are still paramount.

People began stockpiling necessities a week ago, and the sale of food and some other products has more than doubled, according to a cashier in a Nairobi supermarket.

Some foreigners and expatriates have temporarily left for neighboring countries because of potential violence.

(中国日报网英语点津 Julie 编辑)

About the broadcaster:

Emily Cheng is an editor at China Daily. She was born in Sydney, Australia and graduated from the University of Sydney with a degree in Media, English Literature and Politics. She has worked in the media industry since starting university and this is the third time she has settled abroad - she interned with a magazine in Hong Kong 2007 and studied at the University of Leeds in 2009.

 

 

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