Police in the border districts of Tororo and Busia have deployed heavily in a precautionary measure as voting in Kenya’s tense general election proceeds.
Enhanced motorised and foot patrols are visible at the Malaba and Busia border posts.
Thorough security checks on people coming from and going into Kenya are also being conducted.
Transit business at the usually busy inland ports is slow. Trucks loaded with fuel and other commodities which usually criss-cross the entry points have been parked for fear of post-violence.
Eight candidates are running into today’s presidential race but the spotlight is on incumbent Uhuru Kenyatta and long-time rival Raila Odinga. Either man could win in this race which entered the home stretch with the candidates running neck and neck.
However those in the house rental and lodging business are enjoying a field day. Large numbers of Kenyan nationals have already crossed into Uganda with their families for safety in case any violence erupts.
Hajjat Asina who owns rental rooms in Malaba Town Council, says four Kenyans have rented her rooms for two months, paying between Shs 80,000 and Shs 100,000 per month.
While speaking to Step fm yesterday, Juma Murithi who brought his family to Uganda on Sunday says the safety of his family comes first before casting his vote in Kenya today.
Humanitarian organisations like Red Cross Society have already pitched camp at the Malaba border to help where need arises.
Sowali Kamulya, the Bukedi Region Police spokesman, assured that the Uganda police is on high alert to ensure safety of all people in Malaba and Busia.
After the 2007 Kenya general elections, simmering ethnic tensions boiled over and blew up in an orgy of brutal killings, forced deportations of entire communities and violence. More than 1,1000 people were killed and millions displaced, with thousands of those fleeing into Uganda.
Odinga, 72, has run for president three times and lost each time. President Kenyatta beat him in the last disputed election in 2013 (with Odinga claiming he was rigged out of an outright victory), but their rivalry is generations old – their fathers were political opponents in the 1960s.
Mr Kenyatta and his running-mate William Ruto were indicted by the International Criminal Court for their alleged roles in the bloodshed a decade ago. The case ultimately collapsed due to lack of evidence, and after key witnesses died or disappeared.
The election in numbers:
• Six separate ballot papers: For president, national assembly, female representatives, governors, senate and county assemblies
• 47 parliamentary seats and 16 senate seats reserved for women
• Eight presidential candidates
• A candidate needs 50% plus one vote for first-round victory
• More than 14,000 candidates running across the six elections
• More than 45% of registered voters under 35
• Some 180,000 security officers on duty nationwide in case of trouble