There are other areas of concern in addition to the Luo-Kikuyu rift in Nairobi. A United Nations official who is watching election developments said that Kenya's Rift Valley has seen an influx of imported guns that didn't exist five years ago, and the Tana River area — a region that has seen serious tribal fighting over the last year — is likely to see more deaths.
The official said that violence in Mathare will be the worst in Nairobi, and that members of Amnesty International and Kenya's Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission have been receiving serious threats. The official said he could not be identified because he was not authorized to share election data.
Since Kenya's last election, the country now has a new constitution, a new judicial system that is lauded as less corrupted, and the police force is being overhauled. Many residents hold out hope that those changes will help ensure that government systems — instead of massive street violence — will be used to settle election disputes.
"The violence (in 2007-08) came because of the stealing of votes. The Odinga supporters thought it was rigged, so there was an outcry. This time we have a credible judicial commission and we have seen many changes in police," said Bernard Titus, a Kibera resident.
In addition, four prominent Kenyans — including Kenyatta and his vice presidential candidate — face charges at the International Criminal Court over allegations that they orchestrated the 2007 election violence. Some Kenyans believe those charges have reduced the chances that power brokers will hire thugs — mostly young men and boys from the slums hired for $5 to $10 a day — and send them into the street.
Grace Kalibo runs a small shop selling basic food goods in Kibera. She attended Sunday's massive peace rally where Odinga and Kenyatta shook hands and pledged peace. She believes Kenya will avoid the massive violence of five years ago. So does her neighbor, Lucas Awol, a 39-year-old bar owner where poor Kibera men gather on Sunday afternoons.
"This time they won't react at all. They are tired of war," said Awol. "This time it will be peaceful. People say so."
Associated Press reporter Tom Odula contributed to this report
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