News / Africa

Report: Kenya Violence Threatens March Vote

Supporters of Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) run as riot police chase them in Nairobi, Kenya, December 31, 2007.
Supporters of Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) run as riot police chase them in Nairobi, Kenya, December 31, 2007.
VOA News
Human Rights Watch is urging Kenya to crack down on rights abuses and enact promised political reforms ahead of its national elections in March.

In a report published Friday, the New York-based group warned that heightened tensions across the country could lead to an outbreak of violence and threaten the voting.

The elections are the first under Kenya's new constitution enacted in 2010. Following the last national vote in 2007, clashes killed about 1,300 and left 650,000 displaced.

The HRW report says there still is lingering resentment from the violence five years ago. It warns that groups across the country are arming themselves in preparation for possible clashes around the March polls.

Human Rights Watch said the government has not addressed the root causes of the violence, and it called on authorities to take "urgent steps, including the arrest and fair trial of all those who directly incite or organize violence."

It estimates that inter-communal clashes have killed nearly 500 people and displaced almost 120,000 since the beginning of 2012.

Highlighting the problem, officials Friday said at least six people were killed when bandits raided a remote village in Kenya's northern Rift Valley Province, stealing cattle and clashing with police.

A series of tribal clashes and retaliatory attacks also has killed dozens in recent months in Kenya's coastal regions, where inter-communal tensions remain high.

Human Rights Watch says these attacks, as well as the failure to punish those responsible for the violence following the disputed 2007 vote, is threatening the peaceful, free and fair nature of the upcoming elections.

It says tensions also have been raised over the International Criminal Court's upcoming trial against presidential candidate Uhuru Kenyatta and three other Kenyans accused of committing crimes against humanity during the 2007-2008 unrest.

The four defendants face charges that include murder, forcible deportation and the persecution of Prime Minister Raila Odinga's supporters. Odinga lost to President Mwai Kibaki in a disputed 2007 run-off, but later became prime minister as part of a power-sharing agreement.

Some fear the April trial could conflict with a presidential run-off vote, which may be necessary if no candidate wins an outright majority in the first round.

You May Like

Video One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Goodbye, New York

This is what the fastest-growing big cities in America have in common More

Job-Seeking Bangladeshis Risk Lives to Find Work

The number of Bangladeshi migrants on smugglers’ boats bound for Southeast Asian countries has soared in the past two years More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs