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

Lebanese Media Unite to Support Palestinians in Gaza

Joint newscast billed as Arab world’s first unified news bulletin in support of Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip More

Photogallery Australian PM Alleges ‘Coverup’ at MH17 Crash Site

Meanwhile, Russia's ambassador to Malaysia denies plane's black boxes were opened before they were handed over to Malaysian officials More

Despite Advances in AIDS Treatment, Stigma Lingers

Leading immunologist tells VOA that stigma is often what prevents those infected with disease from seeking treatment 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.
Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Agei
X
Elizabeth Lee
July 20, 2014 2:36 AM
Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.
Video

Video Diplomatic Crisis Grows Over MH17 Plane Crash

The Malaysia Airlines crash in eastern Ukraine is drawing reaction from leaders around the world. With suspicions growing that a surface-to-air missile shot down the aircraft, there are increasing tensions in the international community over who is to blame. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Undocumented Immigrants Face Perilous Journey to US, No Guarantees

Every day, hundreds of undocumented immigrants from Central America attempt the arduous journey through Mexico and turn themselves over to U.S. border patrol -- with the hope that they will not be turned away. But the dangers they face along the way are many, and as Ramon Taylor reports from the Rio Grande Valley in Texas, their fate rests on more than just the reception they get at the US border.
Video

Video Scientists Create Blackest Material Ever

Of all the black things in the universe only the infamous "black holes" are so black that not even a tiny amount of light can bounce back. But scientists have managed to create material almost as black, and it has enormous potential use. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Fog Collector Transforming Maasai Water Harvesting in Kenya

The Maasai people of Kenya are known for their cattle-herding, nomadic lifestyle. But it's an existence that depends on access to adequate water for their herds and flocks. Lenny Ruvaga reports for VOA, on a "fog collector."

AppleAndroid