News / Africa

    Fear in Kenya of a Repeat of Election Violence

    A woman walks past a message of peace in Kibera slum in the capital Nairobi, February 28, 2013.
    A woman walks past a message of peace in Kibera slum in the capital Nairobi, February 28, 2013.
    As Kenya prepares to vote in the national elections Monday, the country is still bearing the scars of the violence that erupted the last time around, after communities turned on one another and burned down each other's homes and farms. We re-trace one woman's journey through the violence back to a volatile border town between two communities.

    Fifty-six-year-old Yunike Nyamwite, a farmer, lives in Chepilat, a town on the border that separates the Rift Valley and Nyanza regions of Kenya.

    Nyamwite, an ethnic Kisii, has a farm on the predominantly Kalenjin side.  The two communities over the years have fought over livestock and accused each other of grabbing land that doesn’t belong to them.

    The mother of six, who is married to a retired air force commander, says the house she spent years building was burned to ashes in the violence that followed Kenya's 2007 elections.

    She says she finished building the house and was planning to move in when violence started and the house and farm was burnt to the ground, She even has a picture with her.  All her husband's savings, were used to buy the land and building of the house.  She says they lost everything because they were also paying their children’s fees.

    John Kitur is a pastor at a local church and the neighbor of Nyamwite.  He says they tried to stop the rowdy youths from burning other tribe’s houses and farms, but they were helpless.

    He said when post-election violence started, it  brought problems and he said they love this mother (Nyamwite) and he said we were ready to help her but the attacks carried out by mass of people made us as neighbors helpless to help her and that attack has brought lots of problem to the victims.

    The Rift Valley region was the epicenter of ethnic clashes that followed Kenya's 2007 disputed presidential poll.  The bitterness degenerated into inter-communal fighting in which more than 1,100 people were killed and more than 600,000 displaced from their homes.

    Nyamwite went back to her farm after she was persuaded by her neighbors.  She says she has struggled to put her life back together after what has happened to her.

    She has finished building her new house on the farm.  She just moved to her new house two months ago.

    Nyamwite says she is the only one from her community who went back to her farm, but she hasn’t yet fully recovered from the early 2008 attack.

    She said the problems she faced, she still feels the pain, and now she has pressure  she didn’t have before.  She still visits the clinic to get treatment.  She felt so bad but she had no other choice but to go back to her farm (after it was destroyed.) She says she is the only one who is back in the community, others have not returned.

    Pastor Kitur says neighbors don’t attack each other, but this was the work of other people from other towns who come to disrupt the peace.

    He says when the situation gets worse and so many people are carrying and coming with weapons, they say whoever tries to stop them from attacking people, they warn them (that) tomorrow they will come for their homes.

    The top government security officials in the country have assured Kenyans of their safety come Monday, the day of the elections. For people like Nyamwite, they hope this time security forces will be able to take charge and give them protection.

    You May Like

    Escalation of Media Crackdown in Turkey Heightens Concerns

    Critics see 'a new dark age' as arrests of journalists, closures of media outlets by Erdogan government mount

    Russia Boasts of Troop Buildup on Flank, Draws Flak

    Russian military moves counter to efforts to de-escalate tensions, State Department says

    What Take-out Food Reveals About American History

    From fast-food restaurants to pizza delivery, here's what the history of take-out food tells us about changes in American society

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Processi
    X
    Katherine Gypson
    July 27, 2016 6:21 PM
    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video A Life of Fighting Back: Hillary Clinton Shatters Glass Ceiling

    Hillary Clinton made history Thursday, overcoming personal and political setbacks to become the first woman to win the presidential nomination of a major U.S. political party. If she wins in November, she will go from “first lady” to U.S. Senator from New York, to Secretary of State, to “Madam President.” Polls show Clinton is both beloved and despised. White House Correspondent Cindy Saine takes a look at the life of the woman both supporters and detractors agree is a fighter for the ages.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video First Time Delegate’s First Day Frustrations

    With thousands of people filling the streets of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for the 2016 Democratic National Convention, VOA’s Kane Farabaugh narrowed in on one delegate as she made her first trip to a national party convention. It was a day that was anything but routine for this United States military veteran.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora