The experience of the primary elections in late January, commented Kenya Human Rights Commission chair Makau Mutua, "made one thing crystal clear. Kenya is illprepared to conduct free and fair elections in March." The elections, he argued, should be postponed and the electoral authorities accelerate plans to manage the election and the government prepares to contain possible violence.
Such a postponement seems highly unlikely, despite warnings by Kenyan and international commentators of the risks. Ready or not, the elections are coming soon. Kenyan civil society and the international community, as well as the government and political parties, will be under intense pressure to maximize the changes of a peaceful election rather than a repeat of the 2007-2008 experience. On February 5, President Barack Obama issued his own call for peace in a youtube video addressed to Kenyans (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fgmVLJXS2x4).
One ominous trend, charted by the Daily Nation (http://elections.nation.co.ke/), is that both of the two leading presidential candidates, Raila Odinga and Uhuru Kenyatta, have much higher negative than public opinion ratings.