News / Africa

Flower Vendors Promote Election Peace in Kenya

A Kenyan woman sells a bouquet of red roses to a customer for celebrations of Valentine's Day at a flower market in Nairobi, Kenya, February 14, 2012.
A Kenyan woman sells a bouquet of red roses to a customer for celebrations of Valentine's Day at a flower market in Nairobi, Kenya, February 14, 2012.
Flowers are often associated with love, especially on Valentine's Day.  But in Kenya, flower vendors have joined forces to send a message of peace to Kenyans as the country prepares for next month's elections.  According to the head of the Kenya Flower Council, the vendors are supporting a widespread effort to avoid a repeat of the violence that erupted after the 2007 elections.

With less than three weeks to go before Kenya’s national elections, flower vendors in the country are using this Valentine's Day not only to sell flowers but to take part in the campaign to bring Kenyans together and urge them to behave peacefully during the election period.

A Nairobi flower vendor, Isaac Githinji, says that like other vendors in the city, he is spreading the message.  He says he doesn't want to see his fellow countrymen killing each other, as they did in the violence that followed the 2007 election.

“This Valentine's is special for Kenya," said Githinji. "It's coming at the period when we are preparing for elections, so that we can send the peaceful message, a message of peace to Kenyans.  We are connecting [the] Valentine theme with a voting theme.”   

Dennis Ngetich and Lewis Kariuki are workmates and best of friends.  At this Nairobi flower shop, Kariuki is advising Ngetich what type of flower to buy for his girlfriend.

The only problem for them as Kenyans is that they are from different tribes.  Ngetich is a Kalenjin and Kariuki is a Kikuyu.  In the tribal violence that swept across Kenya in early 2008, Kariuki's community had to flee from their homes in the Rift Valley and hundreds lost their lives.

Ngetich, an information technology consultant, tells VOA this year’s Valentine message should be to all Kenyans.  

“All the other Valentines, the message were the same," said Ngetich. "It was narrowed down to specific people -- you know my mum, my sister, and my wife to be.  But this Valentine everything is entangled together -- my family, my friends, and my fellow Kenyan citizens.”

Kariuki, who is also an IT consultant, says he has never discussed issues with his friend Ngetich on the basis of tribe.  

“The thing about me and Dennis is that we never come to a point of talking about tribal grounds because we are, as they say, two heads are better than one," said Kariuki. "It never says that two heads of different tribes or two heads of the same tribe are better than one.”

Kenya’s last general elections in 2007 were marred by post-election violence, much of it between ethnic groups, in which more than 1,100 people were killed and more than 600,000 displaced from their homes.

Ngetich says after elections he hopes Kenyans will stop tribal-based politics and dealings.

“Tanzania has 145 tribes, Kenya we are just 42, [and] there has never been violence in Tanzania," said Ngetich. "So I think in Kenya this is the time, it's [the] right time that we are going to do away with the tribal nature of dealing with issues.  I think starting from March 4th things will change.”

Flower vendors and many others in Kenya hope Ngetich's prediction comes true, and the country experiences love and peace, especially on election day, March 4.

You May Like

Multimedia Social Media Documenting, Not Driving, Hong Kong Protests

Unlike in Arab Spring uprisings, pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong aren't relying on Twitter and Facebook to organize, but social media still plays a role More

Bambari Hospital a Lone Place of Help in Violence-Plagued CAR

Only establishment still functioning in CAR's second city is main hospital More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plainsi
X
October 01, 2014 10:45 AM
It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plains

It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Draw New Supporters on National Holiday

On the 65th anniversary of the founding of Communist China, Hong Kong protesters are hoping to stage the largest pro-democracy demonstration since the 1989 Tiananmen protests. VOA's Brian Padden visited one of the protest sites mid-day, when the atmosphere was calm and where the supporters were enthusiastic about joining what they are calling the umbrella revolution.
Video

Video India's PM Continues First US Visit

India's prime minister is on his first visit to Washington, to strengthen political and economic ties between the world's oldest and the world biggest democracies. He came to the U.S. capital from New York, the first stop on his five-day visit to the country that denied him an entry visa in the past. From Washington, Zlatica Hoke reports Modi seemed most focused on attracting foreign investment and trade to increase job opportunities for his people.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
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