News / Africa

Rift Valley Kenyans Fear Repeat of Post-Election Violence

A bicycle lies amongst the debris of houses destroyed in post election violence in the village of Rukuini near Eldoret, northwest of Nairobi, Kenya, Jan. 7, 2008.
A bicycle lies amongst the debris of houses destroyed in post election violence in the village of Rukuini near Eldoret, northwest of Nairobi, Kenya, Jan. 7, 2008.
— In Kenya, the Rift Valley region was the epicenter of ethnic clashes following the 2007 disputed presidential poll. With a new election just a few days away, some people are taking care to be outside the province this time, in case violence erupts again.  

Five years ago, 44-year-old Peter Mureithi went to his ancestral home in Central province to vote. He voted there not because he feared or anticipated election-related violence, but to visit people back home.

People displaced during post-election violence are seen in a temporary shelter in Burnt Forest, Kenya, Jan. 6, 2008.People displaced during post-election violence are seen in a temporary shelter in Burnt Forest, Kenya, Jan. 6, 2008.
x
People displaced during post-election violence are seen in a temporary shelter in Burnt Forest, Kenya, Jan. 6, 2008.
People displaced during post-election violence are seen in a temporary shelter in Burnt Forest, Kenya, Jan. 6, 2008.
Then, post-election violence displaced an estimated 600,000 people, and Mureithi was among them. His house and shoe shop in Kapsabet town in the Rift Valley were looted and vandalized during clashes between the Kalenjin and Kikuyu communities.

In this election, Kikuyu and Kalenjin are in the same coalition, but Mureithi, a Kikuyu, said he fears for his life again.

He said, “What has made me to vote back at home again is what happened in 2007." He said he fears for his life in a place like Rift Valley, and he has decided to vote at home.

In a small garage in Bomet, Dickson Owino, a mechanic, said he was present in 2007 when ethnic Kikuyus were attacked because they supported a party that most of the local community was opposing.

He said, “In 2007 we were in one party, ODM." At that time those who were not in ODM like PNU they were affected. He said this time,  even though lessons have been learned, you still do not know what will happen, so to be safe is to vote and go home.

He noted in this election his Luo community is supporting the CORD coalition, led by Prime Minister Raila Odinga, not the Jubilee coalition led by Uhuru Kenyatta and Eldoret North parliament member William Ruto.

Alexander Odhiambo, who is also a Luo, is a community worker in Bomet. He said even though he campaigns for peace in the region, he will leave nothing to chance, and he will also leave as soon as he cast his vote.

“I am involved in preaching peace, but honestly, personally, I am uncertain of the situation, me being a foreigner in this place Bomet," he said. "I believe that I have to put my safety first and maybe come back after the results are announced.”

Mr. Kenyatta and Mr. Ruto are accused of helping to organize the post-election violence five years ago, in which more than 1,100 people were killed. Both face trial at the International Criminal Court on charges of crimes against humanity.

Kenya’s coalition government feels it has carried out enough reforms to avoid a return of violence. But many Kenyans believe the reforms have fallen short.

Mureithi said he is tired seeing himself and other Kenyans feel unsafe every election period, and he hopes something will be done to stop the cycle of violence.

He said it is not a good life for a Kenyan. It will be good to see everyone whenever he is in the country to feel comfortable, not people fearing for their lives just because they happen to be in another part of the country. He said he hopes the next government will be one to bring peace, and people will never again be seen living from one town to another.”

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

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Formi
X
July 22, 2014 10:26 AM
Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
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.

AppleAndroid