Kenyans flee to Uganda ahead of presidential election

An Afro-Asian family from Kisumu arrives at the Busia border on the Ugandan side from Kenya on August 7, 2022. PHOTO/DAVID AWORI

What you need to know:

  • Kenya Tuesday votes to replace Uhuru Kenyatta, president since 2013. 
  • Parts of Kenya have been under curfew with restricted movements and night gatherings ahead of the poll to decide the nation’s 5th president.
  • Security has been beefed up at the Malaba and Busia Uganda border to control traffic flow at the border.

Hundreds of Kenyan nationals and foreigners, who have been in Kenya, have fled into Uganda through the Busia and Malaba borders ahead of a highly-contested August 9 presidential poll.

Whereas four candidates are contesting for Kenya’s top seat, the race is tense between United Democratic Alliance (UDA) candidate William Ruto and Raila Amollo Odinga of the Azimio La' Umoja.

Arriving foreigners from Kenya include Burundian, Rwandan, Asians, American and British nationals who told Monitor that they fear a repeat of 2007 post-election violence that rocked Kenya.

During the unrest, over 10 people were killed, hundreds injured and thousands displaced.

“The violence is still fresh in many Kenyans' minds.  That is why people are attempting to leave the country before the election,” Kenyan national Mr Ramadan Otyeno said on Monday.

Parts of Kenya have been under curfew with restricted movements and night gatherings ahead of the poll to decide the nation’s 5th president.

Mr Ssebbo Ogongo, a Ugandan, who has been living in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, for several years, Saturday night drove most of his belongings in a truck back home.

“I will return to Nairobi if the elections are peaceful and after thoroughly studying the progression of the period before, during and after elections,” he noted.

Mr Hassan Issa, a resident of Kisumu in Western Kenya, has already taken his entire family to Jinja in fear of anticipated electoral chaos.

"I will be going back to Kenya to vote but it is better when I am alone and not with these many children in case of violence," he explained.

Mr Ronnie Ikinyom, a clearing agent at the Busia border said: "I have seen several buses bringing in passengers, majority of them being foreigners.”

Uganda beefs up border security 

Security has been beefed up at the Malaba and Busia Uganda border "to control unusual traffic flow ahead of Kenya's poll." 

Speaking to the media, the Tororo Resident District Commissioner 9RDC) Nickson Owole said: "We have established a desk at Malaba entry point and gazetted Oriyoi Primary School in Morukatipe Sub-county and St Jude Primary School in Malaba Town Council as a reception centre to cater for any eventualities."

The Bukedi South regional police commander ACP Julius Ceasar Tusingwire told a regional security committee meeting that police has stepped up surveillance along the border stretching from Majanji in Busia District to Mt. Elgon.

"It's unfortunate that the borders are porous. However, with the help of village leaders we are trying to map all illegal entry points before deployment can be done. For now, we are concentrating on legal routes," he told this publication on Monday.

Kenya Tuesday votes to replace Uhuru Kenyatta, the nation's president since 2013. 

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