As much of the world is keeping a close eye to the political stage of the United States, another election is taking its toll on the citizens of its nation, specifically, Kenya. Imagine finding yourself in a group of people standing in the street trying to have your voice heard and without warning a canister is tossed at your feet and erupts in a blinding and choking gas forcing you to flee or even worse fall to the ground. That is what many protesters of Kenya’s recent political elections have experienced over the last few weeks as more people attempt to stand up for their beliefs and challenge the “alleged” corrupt system of the Kenyan government.
The stage is Nairobi and the purpose of gathering is to oppose the corrupt and fixed election process that many people in the region have grown tired. Reinforced through constant weekly demonstrations, the people of Kenya continue to push the boundaries and demand political freedom from those who currently run their government and look to secure yet another term of corrupt and inadequate governance.
The protests began a few weeks ago when the opposing leader, Raila Odinga, urged the people of Kenya to stand up and fight for a free election, stating, “they cannot be free and fair under the current incompetent and corrupt body of election officials.” Fueling the political challenge, Odinga took to social media to spread the word saying, “Kenyans are tired of the incompetence and corruption exhibited by the Electoral body as presently constituted.”
In cities across the country, people are gathering to show their support for the opposing leader and their desire for change in the government. Heading the protests is a group by the name of CORD. The Coalition for Reforms and Democracy has formed its campaign on the fact that change cannot happen within the country if the current elected officials continue remain through the next election process and is calling for all current officials to resign prior to the election date.
CORD has a history of working towards the freedom and rights of their fellow countrymen. In 2014, they posted a blog stating, “CORD remains firm and steadfast in its commitment to make Kenya a better place to live in and no amount of intimidation or harassment will compromise CORD’s relentless struggle to enable the people of Kenya reap the fruits of the New Constitution. Finally we are concerned about the membership of the National Security Council and the National Security Advisory Committee which does not portray the face of Kenya and is prone to fall prey to the advancement of a parochial and hegemonic agenda in the country to the detriment of national unity.”
Not much has changed in their stance over the last two years, and the group continues to encourage the people of Kenya to get out on the streets and participate in peaceful demonstrations to help motivate and inspire change.
While the country isn’t scheduled for formal elections until next year, many are already concerned by the amount of reports of brutality, human rights violations, and, in some cases, even death the protests have caused in recent weeks. As the elections get closer, the conflict is only expected to grow as the people and the government continue to clash across the nation.