NAIROBI, Kenya – Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki will be stepping down after the March 4 election, and the country is preparing for possible turmoil in the aftermath.
Inan interview with Bernama-NNN-KBC, Kibaki said, “I am proud to lead such a wonderful country on its path to success, but it is time for me to retire.”
While mourning Kibaki’s departure, Kenyans are anticipating the elections with both nervousness and excitement.
Many fear a repeat of the violence that happened in 2007 and 2008, when more than 1,300 were killed and an estimated 600,000 displaced from their homes.
The International Criminal Court in the Hague has charged four Kenyans with crimes against humanity, including current Presidential candidate Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto.
The concern about violence has implications for many students. The International School of Kenya in Nairobi is one of the schools that will close for one week during the elections.
“We are happy to be seeing a new president in March but hesitant to see what is to come of the post elections,” said Fanuel McCarthy, an 11th grade student at the school. “Thankfully, this was especially evident when we signed a peace deal that brought peace to the country after the post-election violence.”
During the election, violence spread through the streets of many small villages throughout Kenya and some parts of the capital, Nairobi.
“I hope it doesn’t happen. It would be a sad outcome,” said Amish Khan, a 10th grade student at the international school.
Courtesy Taxi driver and former businessman Patrick Njoroge Gichuki was a victim of this disaster. During the post-election violence, Gichuki lost his small general goods shop in a fire caused by supporters of presidential candidate Raila Odinga.
Gichuki’s story shows the unnecessary violence perpetrated by Kenyans.
“We cannot afford another violent election this term due to other countries lack of respect for Kenya when this sort of anarchy happens,” Gichuki said.
During this time of struggle many international diplomats fled the country, to return to their home countries.
The International School of Kenya was closed down due to security risks, causing many complications with students preparing for SATs and International Baccalaureate exams.
This time, the school has an emergency plan to create a virtual learning community in the event students cannot return to campus after the March election break. Students will access assignments from an online resource called Moodle.
“Moodle will provide an accessible learning tool for students to keep on track with their classes. This is obviously contingent on having internet access if they have been evacuated by their parents’ employer to another country or stay here in Kenya,” said English teacher Stacey Wilkins.
Walton Mulroy is a Junior Reporter for Youth Journalism International in Kenya.