Kenya ‘a beacon of democracy’ in East Africa, says expert
AFP, Nairobi – Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta and his opposition are hoping that his re-election on July 8 heralds an era of political stability, prosperity and freedom – which will make him a “beacon of democracy” in the volatile East African country.
In the end, however, the world will decide on Kenyatta’s future.
This year’s election campaign has been overshadowed by the murder of a British woman in Nairobi last month and ongoing fears of Islamist attacks on the Westgate Mall.
A spate of violence against journalists has also added to tensions between the country’s political leaders, with Kenyatta’s People’s Democratic Party (PDP) accusing the opposition of inciting attacks against the media.
“Kenyatta is the hero in a political drama, he has led the country through difficult moments and he deserves recognition even in hostile media,” said Charles Njonjo, a political analyst based in Nairobi.
“What this election is, is the re-election of a person who has helped save the country from its darkest moments – and at the same time there are many challenges that remain to tackle,” he said.
“For this to work, he will have to be able to take the country forward,” he added.
Analyst James Gathii said: “There are a lot of people who say that people like Kenyatta are not fit for democracy. But he has shown that he can bring this country out of the situation it is in…
“He does not need the blessings of other political groups, which is why he can work towards peace and progress,” he said.
Meanwhile the PDP said the election will mark a decisive moment for a country which saw a violent outbreak of ethnic and religious conflict in 2007 that left hundreds of people dead.
“This election will mark a decisive moment for this country, as it goes towards a better future,” said Moses Wetangula, a member of the party.
“The violence can only be stopped by a strong leader who acts immediately to stop it,” he added.
Opposition candidate Raila Odinga, of the Odinga Party, who won the last election in 2012 on a promise to end corruption and