Mass Exodus: Kenyans Flee Uganda Before Election Day

  • Security officials monitor events in Kampala
    Security officials monitor events in Kampala
    Twitter
  • A sizeable number of Kenyans are fleeing Uganda ahead of the general elections over fears of post-election violence, with Ugandans going to the polls, Thursday 14.   

    A report by The Standard stated that Kenyans who operate businesses in the capital city of Kampala, were making arrangements to have family members return to Kenya.

    Kenyans in Uganda have cited the increasing cases of election-related violence and the heightened tensions in the capital as some of the reasons they have decided to take shelter back in Kenya from Tuesday, January 12.

    Ugandan riot police officers detain a supporter of presidential candidate Robert Kyagulanyi, also known as Bobi Wine
    Ugandan riot police officers detain a supporter of presidential candidate Robert Kyagulanyi, also known as Bobi Wine
    File

    "Security agents have been brutal and lives have been lost since November in confrontations involving police and opposition supporters.

    "I have made up my mind to leave because we fear the situation could worsen," stated one Kenyan planning to leave the country.

    A landlord in Kampala, whose flat had mostly been rented to Kenyans also confirmed that most of his tenants had exited the apartment without any guarantees of returning after the elections.

    "All six bedsitter houses are now empty. The tenants took away everything they own, meaning they might not be coming back anytime soon," he observed.

    It is estimated that over 28 people have lost their lives to the violence since November 2020 Ugandan security forces and supporters of presidential opposition candidate Bobi Wine.

    Sporadic riots over the last few weeks have been sparked by the several arrests of Bobi Wine and his team. with the latest incidence having taken place at his home on Tuesday during a live interview with Kenyan radio station, Hot 96.

    Authorities, who are expecting post-election violence to erupt after the voting exercise slated for Thursday, January 14, have deployed security forces majorly in Kampala.

    Uganda nationals in Kampala have also reportedly been leaving for the village in fear of violence.

    "It is possible to prevent violence, but I don't see a willingness from the different parties to prevent it. The discussions that would have defused the situation are not taking place," Fred Muhumuza, a lecturer at the School of Economics at Uganda's Makerere University told DW.

    On Wednesday, January 13, four Kenyans were arrested outside the Ugandan Embassy in Nairobi while preparing to issue a statement regarding the tensions in Uganda ahead of elections. 

    Those arrested included Haki Africa Executive Director Hussein Khalid, Beatrice Waithera, Ojiro Odhiambo and Yassah Musa.

    Activists arrested outside Ugandan Embassy in Nairobi on January 13, 2021
    Activists arrested outside Ugandan Embassy in Nairobi on January 13, 2021
    File