16-05-2022 by Freddie del Curatolo
Will it be a peaceful election in August in Kenya?
Can a peaceful vacation be planned for that time?
Are there any particular destinations to avoid?
There is a lot of demand for summer regarding vacations in the African country, and one wonders if the uncertainty of the political situation could somehow be a problem, an obstacle to travel planning.
In fact, in Kenya, for at least the past three decades, rather than the "leap year," foreigners, investors and workers in the tourism sector have been fearing that "blizzard" may be the year of national elections.
The not-to-be-forgotten raids and violence of 2007 left their mark on those who saw the African country they had bet on, in a new light. As if it had never been an African nation, as if Nairobi's democracy could not or should never result in tragedy.
With each round of elections, then, among those who have business in Kenya and in various capacities frequent it, there is the same concern. Will they be peaceful elections? Will business and especially tourism be affected?
It has to be said that after 2007 and Koffi Annan's political solution, the next two polls went much better: in 2012 tentative allegations of fraud by the opposition and government in the solid hands of Uhuru Kenyatta, in 2017 despite the chaos created by the High Court's decision to repeat the electoral process (also complicit in the date, 8th August to early october, i.e., before the peak season) there were no notable incidents.
But it is also worth saying that even since Jan. 1, 2008, when Kenya after the election results were overturned in favor of outgoing President Mwai Kibaki became a powder keg, chaos erupted in the north due to tribal rather than political feuds. Suffering the consequences was the sphere of organized safaris, and conference tourism in Nairobi.
On the coast the situation remained quiet: two factors played against the tourist influx and decreed the abrupt early end of the high season, emptying the resorts in no time at all and canceling all bookings to come in a year that was set to be a record one, after the excellent numbers of 2005 and 2006: sensationalist information in Europe advising against any Kenyan destination, without making the necessary distinctions, and some demonstrations in Mombasa with stone throwing at cars, not far from the airport area.
This year the elections are being held in August (after the absurd decision in 2007, elections on December 29, the more sensible one in 2012 in March, they opted for this time of year), which in any case is a vacation season for many, even Kenyans themselves given the closure of schools and many businesses. It can be assumed that many people move around that time to return to their native places to vote, taking advantage of the vacations, and that the actual vacations in the tourist places may begin after August 9, or complete before that date.
As for Italian tourists, the resumption of charters bodes well and makes it clear that there are no great fears. The alliance between the current majority and the opposition that may go into government is not creating problems in either Mombasa or the main safari parks. What are defined as "hot spots" are mainly the northern regions (Samburu, Turkana, Laikipia) and those bordering the Rift Valley and the Lake Victoria region.
So for now we feel like saying that for tourism in Kenya in August, the light is green,
although of green in Africa there is usually more Nature than hope.
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