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

China Investigates Former Powerful Security Chief

Former security chief and member of Politburo Standing Committee, Zhou Yongkang, under investigation for suspected 'serious disciplinary violation' More

India, US Look to Reset Ties During Kerry Visit

This week's talks will be first high level interaction between two countries since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took charge More

Video Young African Leadership Program Renamed to Honor Mandela

YALI program, launched by President Obama in 2010, aims to build skills in business, entrepreneurship, public management and civic leadership More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid