News / Africa

African Union Sees Less Chance of Violence in Kenya Election

Residents take to the streets to protest the results of the Orange Democratic Movement primary elections the town of Kisumu in western Kenya, January 20, 2013.
Residents take to the streets to protest the results of the Orange Democratic Movement primary elections the town of Kisumu in western Kenya, January 20, 2013.
A visiting African Union (AU) delegation says it is satisfied with the steps Kenya's government and civil society have taken to avoid violence in the March 4 general election. The vote of confidence comes despite reports of political tension and clashes in parts of the country during last week's party primaries.

With less than two months before Kenya goes to the polls, a delegation from the African Union and the regional economic bloc, COMESA, has wrapped up a week-long pre-election assessment mission in the country.

Members of the visiting delegation say they have come to show their solidarity with the people of Kenya as they prepare to elect a new government.

An AU panel member from South Africa, Brigalia Bam, said her delegation has been evaluating Kenya's efforts to prevent election disputes.

"So far we are impressed by the journey the people of Kenya have taken in the last five years since the unfortunate events of 2007-2008 - the new constitution of this country; the by-elections; the [constitutional] referendum; already the registration of the people who will be in the paper voters rolls; and, of course, the first event, the first phase which we refer to as [an] experiment of the electoral system; and the primaries that [have] taken place,” said Bam.

The results of Kenya's last presidential election in 2007 were disputed, sparking interethnic fighting that left more than 1,000 people dead and hundreds of thousands displaced from their homes.

Local primaries last week were marred by delays, confusion and violence in some parts of the country as angry voters stormed vote counting centers and took to the streets, furious over allegations of vote-rigging.

Despite the chaos in the primaries, Bam said the level of violence was not too alarming since there were no reported deaths.

“At this stage we feel that its was probably good to have primaries. We think that - this is an opinion - the system is probably too complex and people were experimenting with it. We are not sure whether the political parties themselves had been prepared for it.  We are not sure everything has been in place because the whole system is new,” said Bam.

As part of the new system, voters for the first time are selecting candidates to positions created by the new constitution, including the posts of governor, senator and women's representative.

Ambassador Simbi Mubako of Zimbabwe, who is on COMESA's committee of elders, says the Kenyan people are ready to exercise their right to vote and urged them to do so in a peaceful manner.

“Africa is looking to Kenya to conduct itself in [a] dignified and peaceful manner not only because we want orderliness in Kenya itself, but because Kenya is [a] very important country in Africa and particularly in this region,” said the ambassador.

With political reforms and mechanisms in place, Kenyans and their African neighbors are trying to avoid violence on March 4, when the vote is scheduled to take place.

You May Like

How to Safeguard Your Mobile Privacy

As the digital world becomes more mobile, so too do concerns about eroding privacy and increased hacking More

'Desert Dancer' Chronicles Iranian Underground Dance Troupe

Film by Richard Raymond is based on true story of Afshin Ghaffarian and his friends More

Audio Top 5 Songs for Week Ending May 23

This week's lineup can be summed up like this: 'It's The Same Old Song' - but they're great songs - featuring Walk The Moon, The Weeknd, Wiz Khalifa and Charlie Puth More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmakingi
X
Bernard Shusman
May 24, 2015 2:55 PM
According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.
Video

Video Scientists Testing Space Propulsion by Light

Can the sun - the heart of our solar system - power a spacecraft to the edge of our solar system? The answer may come from a just-launched small satellite designed to test the efficiency of solar sail propulsion. Once deployed, its large sail will catch the so-called solar wind and slowly reach what scientists hope to be substantial speed. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video FIFA Trains Somali Referees

As stability returns to the once lawless nation of Somalia, the world football governing body, FIFA, is helping to rebuild the country’s sport sector by training referees as well as its young footballers. Abdulaziz Billow has more from Mogadishu.
Video

Video With US Child Obesity Rates on the Rise, Program Promotes Health Eating

In its fifth year, FoodCorps puts more than 180 young Americans into 500 schools across the United States, where they focus on teaching students about nutrition, engaging them with hands-on activities, and improving their access to healthy foods whether in the cafeteria or the greater community. Aru Pande has more.
Video

Video Virginia Neighborhood Draws People to Nostalgic Main Street

In the U.S., people used to grow up in small towns with a main street lined by family-owned shops and restaurants. Today, however, many main streets are worn down and empty because shoppers have been lured away by shopping malls. But in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia, main street is thriving. VOA’s Deborah Block reports it has a nostalgic feel with its small restaurants and unique stores.
Video

Video Effort Underway to Limit Damage from California Oil Spill

Cleanup crews are working around the clock to remove oil from the waters off the coastal city of Santa Barbara, in California. About 380,000 liters of oil may have leaked out before a rupture in an onshore, underground pipeline was discovered Tuesday. The environmental disaster hit the popular West Coast resort area before the Memorial Day weekend. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports investigators have yet to determine what caused the incident.

VOA Blogs