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.
TEXT SIZE - +
— 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

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

John the XXIII and John Paul II will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square on April 27 More

Thailand Reacts to Plots Targeting Israelis

Authorities hope arrest of two Lebanese suspects will disrupt plot to attack young Israeli tourists More

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

'Once Upon a Forest' takes viewers deep into heart of tropical rainforest More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Churchi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
Jerome Socolovsky
April 22, 2014 4:14 PM
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 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 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 Robotic Mission Kicks Up Lunar Dust

A robotic mission to the moon was deliberately crashed onto the lunar surface late last week, but not before scientists had collected data gathered by the spacecraft which was designed to self-destruct. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports on the preliminary findings of the craft, called LADEE - an acronym for Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer.
Video

Video Boko Haram Claims Responsibility for Bombing in Nigerian Capital

The Nigerian militant group known as Boko Haram has claimed responsibility for a bombing in the capital on April 14th that killed 75 people. In the video message, Abubakar Shekau, the man who says he ordered the bombing, says nothing about the mass abduction of more than 100 teenage girls, most of whom are still missing. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Abuja.
Video

Video Ukraine Developments Hang Over Obama Trip to Asia

President Barack Obama's trip to Asia this week comes as concerns over Beijing's territorial ambitions are growing in the region. Those concerns have been compounded by Russia's recent actions in Ukraine and the possibility that Chinese strategists might be looking to Crimea as a model for its territorial disputes with its neighbors. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
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