high-costJudging by the cost to Kenya and the surrounding countries, Kenyans take their elections much more seriously than do citizens of most other countries. Not only did many people wait in queues for more than 8 hours to lodge their votes, almost all businesses stopped on Monday while votes were cast, and on the subsequent days while votes were counted. The biometric kits and computer resources acquired for the elections were expensive, but the days off work were even more expensive.

Last time round, post-election unpleasantness made it extremely dangerous for people travelling through the Rift Valley from Nairobi in the direction of Uganda, and accordingly this time transport businesses closed down until it was clear that travel along the road would not be interrupted by fighting over the election outcome. As it turned out, the biometric kits failed when their batteries ran out, and computer communications proved unreliable, so the vote count took much longer than anticipated.

This meant that transport businesses could not safely resume their work for several days, and as a result Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo have been experiencing shortages of commodities including fuel. Since the announcement of Uhuru Kenyatta’s surprise victory in the presidential contest on Saturday, relative peace has prevailed and most businesses, including transport companies, have cautiously returned to work.

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