- Kenyans will once again return to the polls on Wednesday to elect five members of parliament in what has been dubbed crucial by-elections.
The elections will allow the Grand Coalition partners - Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) and Party of National Unity (PNU) - to battle control over parliament.
Bi-elections will also be held in 52 civic awards whose results had been challenged. The deadline for all political campaigns expired on Monday.
A dispute over Kenya's presidential election results in December soon snowballed into "ethnic cleansing" that claimed several lives, including two elected MPs in Embakasi and Ainamoi, Melitus Were and David Too. Both MPs were shot dead at the height of the political violence.
Due to the violence that claimed over 1,000 lives and displaced tens of thousands, results of some constituencies could not be announced.
The upcoming elections have already taken tribal connotation, with some tribes rejecting nominated candidates in areas they considered their ancestral land. For instance, the nomination of ODM's Jonathan Ngéno, who hailed from the Kipsigis community, had forced the Maasais to rally behind the PNU sponsored candidate, Gideon Konchella.
The ugly scenario is a complete deviation from Prime Minister Raila Odinga's belief that "I want to see a Kenya where people are not judged on their tribal affiliations but on the content of their character."
Ahead of the polls, the Electoral Commission of Kenya (ECK) issued a statement, urging politicians to desist from creating "an atmosphere of political and social violence." Instead of uttering throw-away or carefree words, the ECK advised politicians to "preach peace, tolerance and reconciliation and exercise maximum restraint."
“They should avoid engaging in violence, bad language and other malpractices like vote buying” the commission advised.
The commission had been blamed for sparking flames of the deadly post-election violence.
Until its recent political violence, Kenya has been hailed as the oasis of democracy in East Africa.
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