George Obulutsa | NAIROBI
Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta said on Thursday his government would not tolerate violence between rival camps of supporters in party primaries before a national election in August.
Two parliamentary candidates have been treated in hospital after being caught up in such a clash – a decade after an eruption of ethnic violence, in which more than 1,200 people were killed, following a disputed presidential poll.
“A culture of hooliganism during the electoral process must not and will not be allowed to gain currency and acceptance,” Kenyatta told a news conference at the main State House.
Kenyatta, the wealthy son of the country’s first president, is running for a second and final five-year term in the Aug. 8 vote.
The 2013 election passed off fairly peacefully, after opposition leader Raila Odinga, who is seen as Kenyatta’s main rival, challenged Kenyatta’s election in court. The court upheld the result.
Kenyatta’s Jubilee Party and dozens of others are nominating their candidates, to beat the April 26 deadline, and hand over nominees to the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) by May 10 as required by law.
The main opposition coalition, the National Super Alliance of Kenya (Nasa), has yet to name its presidential candidate from among its top leaders, who include Odinga, and his 2013 running mate, Kalonzo Musyoka.
Millions of voters will also pick a new parliament and local authorities when they cast their ballots in August.
Contests to lead the country’s 47 local authorities are expected to be hard-fought affairs due to their budgets of billions of shillings.
Kenyatta said that all political parties taking part in the nominations had been given police protection to stem any acts of violence or hooliganism.
“Anybody who engages in acts of violence will be dealt with in accordance with the law, irrespective of who they are,” he said.
(Editing by Duncan Miriri and Alison Williams)