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Is Travel to Kenya during the August 2012 election safe?

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Is Travel to Kenya during the August 2012 election safe?

My husband and I are planning a trip to Kenya for safari during August of 2012. We have heard from several people that we should not travel to Kenya during this time because of the election and the possible violence. Any thoughts on this? Would the safari destinations such as the Masai Mara still be safe? Keep in mind that we would need to route through Nairobi. Thanks in advance for your help.

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1. Re: Is Travel to Kenya during the August 2012 election safe?

i was there during the last election, didn't venture too far, just to local shops, when they were open and bars near to where i lived, as for next year, i not know how it will turn out. i would stay out of nairobi town centre, as you never know what will happen,

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2. Re: Is Travel to Kenya during the August 2012 election safe?

I thought I heard (or read somewhere) that the elections were being postponed until December 2012. Not sure if that is true, maybe one of the local experts can weigh in.

Hythe, United...
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3. Re: Is Travel to Kenya during the August 2012 election safe?

i'm sure that your are right and that the date as been changed to December

Mtwapa, Kenya
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4. Re: Is Travel to Kenya during the August 2012 election safe?


The date has not been changed yet, but Cabinet have raised a Bill to amend the new constitution so that elections are held in December every 5 years instead of August every third year

There is a big debate going on between the politicians, legislative bodies, the judiciary, the body responsible for implementing the new constitution, etc.

The new constitution says elections will be held in August every 5 years.

The interim constitutional amendments that were made to allow the coalition government said that that the parliament would run its full course which would move the election to March

A third group (including the Attorney General) feel that there is insufficient time to prepare for and August election, (largely because the politicians have been bickering, plotting and positioning for the presidential election rather than buckling down and passing all the legislation made necessary by the new constitution)

The Supreme Court was due to sit in two sessions this week to hear petitions on the issue


Edited: 28 October 2011, 07:34
Nairobi, Kenya
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5. Re: Is Travel to Kenya during the August 2012 election safe?

JTravel - it would be irresponsible at this point in time to state with absolute certainty just how safe Kenya will be during the next elections. Until they actually start taking place nobody can know for sure what is going to happen.

Speaking for myself and my friends, all of us have an exit plan in place "just in case". Many have already decided not to be here - not specifically from a security perspective but more from a disruption standpoint. Even if the elections do not prompt violence, they can be a nuisance.

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6. Re: Is Travel to Kenya during the August 2012 election safe?

In December 2007, we had peaceful elections in Kenya. Millions of Kenyans lined up to vote at hundreds of polling stations all over the country and there were no problems at all in the immediate run-up to the elections or on the polling day itself.

However soon after the results were announced there were serious outbreaks of violence in different parts of the country as the results were disputed by the losing side and there were accusations of rigging. Over a 2 month period from January to February there was civil unrest in some places and different ethnic groups supporting different parties attacked each other resulting in people being killed or displaced from their homes especially in the area near Molo and Eldoret.

The violence was largely confined to the Western corner of Kenya around Kisumu, Kitale, Eldoret, Nakuru and Naivasha as well as the slum areas of Nairobi. In other areas everything continued as normal and we did not see any violence or civil unrest.

There were 40,000 tourists in Kenya in early January at the height of the problem and none were harmed in any way by any rioters or protesters and were well away from the problem areas. Virtually all tourists continued with their safari or beach holiday throughout this period and the wildlife parks and beach resorts were not affected by any violence. Visitors expressed themselves as being unaware of anything going on apart from what they were seeing on Sky or BBC on TV in the hotels! My daughter was on a 2 week beach holiday near Mombasa at the time and was not affected by any problems, while my wife and I were in Nairobi and also visited many of the parks during the 2 month period of unrest without experiencing any problem at all.

The situation returned to normal once Kofi Annan arrived in Kenya to act as a mediator and the sides came together to form a Coalition Government and to sign an accord with the President coming from one side and the Prime Minister from the other. Since then the President and Prime Minister have worked together well.

There is a general consensus that there will not be the same problem in 2012 after the next elections when the results are announced because:

1. There is now a new Independent Electoral Commission which is responsible for conducting the election and tallying the votes and announcing the results. They have already proved themselves when we had a number of by-elections and also when we recently had a hotly contested Referendum for a new constitution which all went very peacefully. The results were accepted by the losing side without any problem because they could see the Referendum had been fairly conducted without any possibiity of rigging and the results were credible.

2. After the experience of last time, people do not want a repeat of any violence and the political leadership has been careful to call for harmony. The peaceful experience of the recent Referendum has given people confidence in the electoral commission and the new method of tallying votes and declaring results, so that there is not likely to be protests about possible rigging next time and the outcome will be accepted.

With regard to the actual date of the election, the matter is currently being decided by the court and is likely to be either August or December. If you are staying in an international Nairobi hotel, or on safari in the parks or at a beach resort then you will be very unlikely to be affected by any problems associated with the elections and those of us who live here are confidently optimistic that the next elections will be very different from the last time!

So I hope you will come and enjoy what Kenya has to offer!

Jake Grieves-Cook


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7. Re: Is Travel to Kenya during the August 2012 election safe?

I will not be in Kenya for a month either side of the elections whenever they are held, I was here in the run up to the 2007 elections and often a days business to Mombasa became a nightmare, many times we were caught up in traffic jams caused by the police trying to rush through visiting politicians and the ensuing chaos, not very nice to witness. On one occasion our vehicle along with many others was battered to get out of the way for a convoy to come through, same happened to people in the way as well.

I don't think anyone can say whether it will go over peacefully or not but I am a great believer in avoiding potential dangerous situations if you can but this is just my opinion.

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8. Re: Is Travel to Kenya during the August 2012 election safe?

Jake Grieves-Cook is the expert on this. Stay in one of the small boutique hotels in Karen and avoid the city center, which I would do at any time of the year due to traffic.

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9. Re: Is Travel to Kenya during the August 2012 election safe?

Even during the earlier upheaval, tourist were never targetted or harmed.

For those who didn't cancel their planned holiday, the only disappointment was that so many others had cancelled, many lodge/camps closed, thus Kenyans out of work... it was just sad. They, however, had wonderful safari experiences.

Some visitors did report delay in the Nakuru/Naivasha area due to protests... but no personal impact.

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10. Re: Is Travel to Kenya during the August 2012 election safe?

We stayed in The Masai mara during the last elections and it was wonderful. We felt perfectly safe and would describe it as the ideal time to go again for us.

There were no tourists and we had the place virtually to ourselves since there was a 'Don't travel unless essential' government advices posted. The only problem with that situation is that many travel insurance policies become invalid - but we decided to go regardless, having been before we had reasonable knowledge and expectations and felt we could manage - although we did register with the flying doctor service at Wilson Airport in case of a medical emergency whilst we were there. But hey,we saw more rhno than tourist vehicles in the reserve for the whole week.

The Masai didn't seem to be involved or unduly bothered - they just carryied on watching thier cows, singingtheir songs and chewing their meat.

Have also heard that the elections will be put off until Dec - but whenever it is, that is when we shall be looking to go again.