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Kenyan Voices on Their Election Hopes

A woman walks past a message of peace in Kibera slum in the capital Nairobi, February 28, 2013.

A woman walks past a message of peace in Kibera slum in the capital Nairobi, February 28, 2013.

Ordinary Kenyans and election officials alike share their hopes for a peaceful election, and the messages they're spreading in an attempt to see their hopes realized:

“We don’t want hatred, because we know we are the ones who will lose the most.” – Nakuru resident Samuel Kamau on his hopes for a peaceful election

"The same individuals who were present in 1992, 1997, 2002 and 2007 are the very same who are the political players in the year 2013. So the political culture may not change dramatically, but these individuals upon being elected will find that their actions are controlled and in some ways hamstrung by the new constitutional provisions.” - P.L.O Lumumba, dean of law at Kabarak University, on whether this election will be decided on the basis of ethnicity or issues

“Vote for whom you love, but you also need to be ready that you can vote for somebody that you love and they may not make it … Vote, yes, but be ready to accept the results, and be peaceful.” – Pastor Ronald Makokha explains the message he is giving his congregation

“…if we can come to a kind of consensus around the process that needs to be followed in light of what has been agreed to candidates in advance of the contest, then if there are disturbances or challenges…there are mechanisms in place for resolving these differences. And our plea to everyone is stick to the process and do it peacefully.” – John Stremlau of the Carter Center, one of the groups monitoring the elections, explaining how he works with other election groups

“We are actually cautioning the political class, especially the presidential candidates, that they need to be careful and watch what they utter before the public, because their words could be interpreted in a more dangerous manner.” – Law Society chairman Eric Mutua on how the candidates can help ease tensions

“…this election will just come and pass. We will remain here, as neighbors and friends, as we have been doing before. So there’s no need of people fighting or quarrelling or creating tribalism.” – Imam Abdallah Mohammed Kombo on why he is telling his members to promote peace

“I’ve told them, the best thing is to put the batons down, the helmets down, and walk into the estates. Without guns, without anything, to reassure the residents, even those that are fleeing, that the security is there.” – Keffa Karuoya of the Internal Displacement Policy and Advocacy Center on how the police can better reassure residents of potential hot spots

"So we don’t want any candidate to be beaten up, to be discriminated against just because maybe he doesn’t have enough resources. So in this, we are going to make sure that whoever breaches the law, the law should take course.” – IEBC representative Frank Mwalenga on how the IEBC views electoral offenses