voting-formYesterday was the big day for voting in Kenya. Long queues had already formed when polling centres opened at many locations across the country at 6am. Given the unhappy experience of post-election violence following the vote-rigging and corrupt practices which occurred at the last election, there has been much talk about peace, and all candidates for the presidential position have pledged to accept the result, whatever it might be.

Unfortunately, however, violent clashes during polling yesterday in the coastal region of Kenya, with around 17 reported deaths. Five police officers and at least six other people were reported to have been killed in a violent confrontation at Changamwe, near Mombasa, and six more people are reported to have been shot dead at Kilifi, which is half way between Mombasa and Malindi on the Kenyan coast. Three explosions were reported at polling stations in Mandera, which is at the north eastern extremity of Kenya, on the borders with Somalia and Ethiopia.

Deliberate violence was not the only hazard for voters. There was a stampede at St Monica Academy polling station in Kitengela, and 20 people were taken to hospital. A man died while waiting to vote in Hardy, Nairobi, and a woman died while waiting to vote in Kiharu, Muranga County. According to the official timetable, results are due to be announced by next Monday, but it is expected that most of the results will be available within two days or so.

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