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Kenyans Bracing For National Elections

U.S. State Department Map

By
Walton Mulroy

Junior
Reporter
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.
In
an 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. 

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