News / Africa

Kenya's Muslim Youths Hope for Peaceful Elections

Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki (R) registers as a voter before launching the nationwide, one-month biometric voter registration exercise in the capital Nairobi on November 19, 2012, targeting over 18 million voters ahead of the March 4 election.Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki (R) registers as a voter before launching the nationwide, one-month biometric voter registration exercise in the capital Nairobi on November 19, 2012, targeting over 18 million voters ahead of the March 4 election.
x
Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki (R) registers as a voter before launching the nationwide, one-month biometric voter registration exercise in the capital Nairobi on November 19, 2012, targeting over 18 million voters ahead of the March 4 election.
Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki (R) registers as a voter before launching the nationwide, one-month biometric voter registration exercise in the capital Nairobi on November 19, 2012, targeting over 18 million voters ahead of the March 4 election.
Jill Craig
As Kenyans prepare for their March 4 national elections, they are paying special attention to preventing the post-election violence that rocked the country in 2007. Young people from the six counties comprising the Kenyan Coast province are working to promote peace and security during this election season.

In a sweltering meeting hall in Old Town Mombasa, more than 100 Muslim youths gathered Tuesday to discuss the Kenyan elections that are less than two weeks away. They represent various towns, villages, and rural areas along the Kenyan coast, but they all are united in their commitment to peaceful elections.

Jamila Wangari Thagui is an activist from Lamu county and is a member of the Kenya Muslim Youth Alliance, the group organizing this coast region accountability forum.  

“So it’s good to have this meeting today to enlighten our people on how to participate on a peaceful election. And, also on how to maintain peace before and during elections, and after elections as one people of Coast,” said Thagui.

Election concerns

The alliance invited electoral commission workers, as well as provincial administration and security agents, to discuss election concerns with the attendees.

One of those participants was Bakary Annuary Abae, a fisherman from Tana River, an area of Kenya that has been rocked by its own violence in recent months. He said his biggest concern is whether or not government officials will be perpetuating election fraud.

“To my opinion, the government agents should not be partisans of any clique of intolerance. They should be neutral so that wherever there is a problem, they should be able to come out clean and identify those issues. But, if they become partisans of whatever, illicit behaviors, then we shall not reach anywhere,” said Abae.

As the program officer of the Kenya Muslim Youth Alliance, Aisha Ismail Adan said that political candidates were invited to the forum to express their intentions for free and fair elections. Adan believes that conceding defeat goes a long way toward preventing violence, so she asked the aspirants to publicly state that they would do so if they did not win.   

“You know, if you say they are going to concede defeat, that means they are going to concede defeat and when they say that loudly, clearly to their supporters, and I mean, if something happens and they just don’t win in this election, and they’ve committed themselves that they are going to concede defeat, that is what we expect out [of this forum]," said Adan. "Because what we believe is that politicians are the inciters of violence in this region. So, we thought it wise for them to come out clearly, tell people that we should observe peace and peace should prevail in this region.”

Calming youthful minds

Amina Hussein Soud is the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission Elections coordinator for the southwest coastal region. She said she is trying to change the attitudes of the youths, who usually are the most susceptible to committing violence.

“As the youth, they’ve always been used for bad things. So we are trying to tell them that what you’ve been doing is wrong and change of attitude. Change of attitude has to get some psychological support, when you see you have changed and others around you have changed, especially with the peers, and the youth," said Soud. "They like things that are in fashion. When they see that everyone is on that fashion of being peaceful, then maybe that will change their attitude on the negative side. And, now they will come to the positive side and use their energies for better things.”

Above all, Soud said that she is encouraging young people to remain calm during the elections.

“What I’m urging them is, come out in numbers, do your voting, after that go home and relax and wait for the results, instead of going out and looking for challenges and making noise and what have you,” she said.

The Kenya Muslim Youth Alliance has more than 1,000 members around the country. More than 200 community-based organizations are affiliated with the alliance.

You May Like

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants 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.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs