HRW warns of violence ahead of Kenyan elections


The Human Rights Watch (HRW) has warned of violence prior to the Kenyan general elections due next month, in a report released on Monday.

HRW says it interviewed opposition and ruling party supporters, human rights activists, and government officials in the report it released in the Kenyan capital Nairobi.

The report has accounts of victims of the 2007 post-election violence in the country that claimed 1000 lives and left 650,000 displaced.

Many Kenyans are afraid of stepping out to vote for they fear that authorities have not done enough to ensure a peaceful election process, the report states.

A 34-year-old mother of two who spoke to HRW said, "Police rarely respond effectively when people report these threats and this undermines confidence of the people in them."

Otsieno Namwaya, Africa researcher at HRW, called on the Kenyan government to ensure that all citizens are able to take part in a free and fair election without fear of violence.

"Kenyan authorities should do more to prevent a repeat of the 2007 bloodshed in Naivasha," he added.

Politics in the east African country has historically been ethnically driven with many people voting for their tribes.

Kenya is set to go to the polls on Aug. 8 when its citizens will vote for a new government.

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