Kenyans face potential violence Aug 4

While the government can claim in writing that the August 4th vote on the proposed constitution will be peaceful, making it so is another thing entirely. In the violence following the presidential election in 2007 over 1,000 Kenyans lost their lives. The August 4th vote is proving to be no less contentious than the 2007 election was.

Saitoti assures Kenyans of peaceful referendum

By DAVE OPIYO and ANDREW DOUGHMAN
Posted Tuesday, July 20 2010 at 15:05
The government has assured Kenyans of adequate security before and after the August 4 referendum on the Proposed Constitution.

Internal Security minister George Saitoti has said Kenyans should not be worried about their safety, with only 15 days remaining to the plebiscite.

“Those who believe they are going to repeat the events that were committed after the last general elections will not be able to do that,” he said during a security sector reform conference at the Hilton Hotel, Nairobi Tuesday.

“We shall not be caught on our laurels like it happened in 2007.”

Investigations revealed that 1,133 people died and 650,000 others were rendered homeless following the 2007 post-election violence.

The Internal Security minister was responding to concerns by his Justice counterpart Mutula Kilonzo, who had sought assurances that the vote will be free of any violence.

“With only 15 days remaining, you must give us a peaceful referendum,” said Mr Kilonzo.

There have been concerns that hate speech had created divisions in parts of the country and could lead to violence.

Polarised country

Indeed, religious leaders had asked for the August 4 vote on the to be postponed until the Yes and No camps reach consensus on contentious issues.

The country, they added, was too ‘polarised’ to hold the referendum, citing last month’s bombing of a prayer meeting cum No rally in Nairobi’s Uhuru Park as an example.

The meeting turned tragic after two explosions tore through the crowd, killing six people and injuring many others.

Read the rest of the story here.

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