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.
TEXT SIZE - +
— 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

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 More

Open Source Seeds Hit the Market, Raise Awareness

First open source seeds include 29 new varieties of broccoli, celery, kale, quinoa and other vegetables and grains 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.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid