nervous-daysOpinion polls in Kenya are predicting that the presidential contest between Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila Odinga will be very close. It seems likely that neither candidate will get more than 50% of the first round vote, so that the contest will be decided in a second-round run-off. Business investment has been at a standstill for several months now in anticipation of the elections, and the run-off campaigning will delay certainty for at least another month.

Political campaigning is already intense and the risk of politically-inspired inter-ethnic violence is high; the polarisation could become worse during run-off campaigning. Kenya’s chief justice has revealed that he had received threats against his life and those of his fellow judges in connection with a court hearing relating to the eligibility of Uhuru Kenyatta, and he was unlawfully challenged by an airport officer on the apparent orders of a senior administration official.

Neighbouring countries are nervous about the possibility of unrest during or following the election period. Uganda and Rwanda are reliant on goods imported through Kenya, particularly including oil, and the supplies of both countries were severely interrupted during the riots in the months following the last Kenyan elections.

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