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

As US Strikes Syria, China Sees Parallels at Home

Beijing is debating how much support to give international coalition against IS militants and trying to figure out how many Chinese nationals may have joined group overseas More

CDC: Ebola Could Infect 1.4 M by 2015

US health officials say if efforts to curb the outbreak are not increased, cases will soar dramatically by early next year More

Video USAID Provides $231 Million for Girls Education in 5 Countries

US Agency for International Development partners with celebrities to call attention to importance of education for girls worldwide More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
NASA’s MAVEN Probe Enters Mars Orbiti
X
September 22, 2014 9:20 PM
NASA’s newest Mars probe, called MAVEN, has successfully entered its designated orbit around the Red Planet. Scientists will use its sophisticated instruments to try to learn what happened to the atmosphere Mars had a few billion years ago. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video NASA’s MAVEN Probe Enters Mars Orbit

NASA’s newest Mars probe, called MAVEN, has successfully entered its designated orbit around the Red Planet. Scientists will use its sophisticated instruments to try to learn what happened to the atmosphere Mars had a few billion years ago. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video For West Ukraine City, Conflict Far Away Yet Near

The western Ukrainian city of Lviv prides itself on being both physically and culturally close to Western Europe. The Russian-backed separatists in the eastern part of the country are 1,200 kilometers away, and seemingly even farther away in their world view. Still, as VOA’s Al Pessin reports, the war is having an impact in Lviv.
Video

Video Saving Global Fish Stocks Starts in the Kitchen

With an estimated 90 percent of the world’s larger fish populations having already vanished, a growing number of people in the seafood industry are embracing the concept of sustainable fishing and farming practices. One American marine biologist turned restaurateur in Thailand is spreading the word among fellow chefs and customers. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Chinese Admiral Key in China’s Promotion of Sea Links

China’s President last week wrapped up landmark visits to India, Sri Lanka and Maldives, part of a broader campaign to promote a new “Maritime Silk Road” in Asia. The Chinese government’s promotion efforts rely heavily on the country’s best-known sailor, a 15th century eunuch named Zheng He. VOA's Bill Ide reports from the sailor’s hometown in Yunnan on the effort to promote China’s future by recalling its past.
Video

Video Experts Fear Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’

Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Town

A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Difficult Tactical Battle Ahead Against IS Militants in Syria

The U.S. president has ordered the military to intensify its fight against the Islamic State, including in Syria. But how does the military conduct air strikes in a country that is not a U.S. ally? VOA correspondent Carla Babb reports from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid