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 Obama Announces Plan to Send 3,000 Troops to Liberia in Ebola Fight

At US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Obama details troop deployment and other pieces of US plan More

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

Muslims in Kunming say that they condemn the violence, it is not a reflection of the true beliefs of their faith More

Humanitarian Aid, Equipment Blocked in Cameroon

Move is seen as a developing supply crisis in West Africa More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Communityi
X
September 16, 2014 2:06 PM
Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.
Video

Video Washington DC Mural Artists Help Beautify City

Like many cities, Washington has a graffiti problem. Buildings and homes, especially in low-income neighborhoods, are often targets of illegal artwork. But as we hear from VOA’s Julie Taboh, officials in the nation's capital have come up with an innovative program that uses the talents of local artists to beautify the city.
Video

Video US Muslim Leaders Condemn Islamic State

Leaders of America's Muslim community are condemning the violent extremism of the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. Muslim leaders say militants are exploiting their faith in a failed effort to justify violent extremism. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Americans' Reaction Mixed on Obama Strategy for Islamic State Militants

President Barack Obama’s televised speech on how the United States plans to “degrade and destroy” the group known as the Islamic State reached a prime-time audience of millions. And it came as Americans appear more willing to embrace a bolder, tougher approach to foreign policy. VOA producer Katherine Gypson and reporter Jeff Seldin have this report from Washington.
Video

Video Authorities Allege LA Fashion Industry-Cartel Ties

U.S. officials say they have broken up crime rings that funneled tens of millions of dollars from Mexican drug cartels through fashion businesses in Los Angeles. Mike O'Sullivan reports that authorities announced nine arrests, as 1,000 law enforcement agents fanned out through the city on Wednesday.
Video

Video Bedouin Woman Runs Successful Business in Palestinian City

A Bedouin woman is breaking social taboos by running a successful vacation resort in the Palestinian town of Jericho. Bedouins are a sub-group of Arabs known for their semi-nomadic lifestyle. Zlatica Hoke says the resort in the West Bank's Jordan Valley is a model of success for women in the region.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid