News / Africa

    Kenyans Vote Amid Threats of Violence

    A woman walks past a wall covered with campaign posters on a street in Kenya's capital Nairobi March 3, 2013.A woman walks past a wall covered with campaign posters on a street in Kenya's capital Nairobi March 3, 2013.
    x
    A woman walks past a wall covered with campaign posters on a street in Kenya's capital Nairobi March 3, 2013.
    A woman walks past a wall covered with campaign posters on a street in Kenya's capital Nairobi March 3, 2013.
    Gabe Joselow
    Kenyans are voting to elect the country’s fourth president since independence.  Police have issued warnings of possible violence during the poll.

    Hours before the voting began Monday, police in the port city of Mombasa said an attack there killed several people, including police officers.

    The two front-runners in Kenya’s presidential race are virtually tied for support according to recent public opinion polls.
     
    Prime Minister Raila Odinga and his rival, Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta, have each predicted they will win in the first round. But if neither candidate gets more than 50 percent of the vote, a second round will be held in April.
     
    In a message to the nation Friday, Kenya’s outgoing president, Mwai Kibaki, called for a peaceful vote and urged the candidates to accept the results - win or lose.
     
    Kenyan police say they have reports of a possible threat. Police spokesman Charles Owino said some individuals may be planning to dress up in police uniforms and attack people in the Kibera and Mathare slums in Nairobi, and the city of Kisumu in western Kenya.
     
    Owino says the police will use deadly force if necessary to contain any threats against the public.
     
    “We are in charge of security in this country and therefore we have a responsibility to protect you. And we are not saying out of fear, we are saying when we have confidence, and warning them, because we do not want them to lose their lives unnecessarily.”

    History of violence
     
    The country is still healing from the violence that erupted following the disputed election in 2007, in which 1,100 people were killed and more than 600,000 were displaced.
     
    Kenya’s electoral commission, the IEBC, has called on candidates to settle any disputes through legal channels.
     
    IEBC chairman Ahmed Issack Haasan also said candidates should stop making accusations of vote rigging, which he said brings back bad memories of the last election.
     
    “We as a commission have put in place a lot of efforts to ensure we’ve got officers, we  have got systems that can ensure a credible and transparent election. We would like to urge these politicians and candidates to give the commission the opportunity to prove and make sure these elections are done peacefully.”
     
    More than 14 million Kenyans have registered to vote in this year’s election.
     
    The IEBC says they anticipate some logistical challenges during voting. Voters are casting ballots for several other elected positions aside from the president, including senators, women’s representatives and members of parliament.
     
    The results will be counted at local tallying centers, and transmitted through a mobile-phone system to the national election center in Nairobi.

    You May Like

    US-Russia Tensions Complicate Syria War

    With a shared enemy and opposing allies, Russia and the US are working to avoid confrontation

    Video Re-opening Old Wounds in Beirut's Bullet-riddled Yellow House

    Built in neo-Ottoman style in 1920s, it is set to be re-opened in Sept. as ‘memory museum’ - bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity

    Cambodian-Americans Lobby for Human Rights Resolution

    Resolution condemns all forms of political violence in Cambodia, urges Cambodian government to end human rights violations, calls for respect of press freedom

    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.
    Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Uncharted Territoryi
    X
    June 24, 2016 9:38 PM
    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Uncharted Territory

    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Experts: Very Few Killed in US Gun Violence Are Victims of Mass Shootings

    The deadly shooting at a Florida nightclub has reignited the debate in the U.S. over gun control. Although Congress doesn't provide government health agencies funds to study gun violence, public health experts say private research has helped them learn some things about the issue. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
    Video

    Video Trump Unleashes Broadside Against Clinton to Try to Ease GOP Doubts

    Recent public opinion polls show Republican Donald Trump slipping behind Democrat Hillary Clinton in the presidential election matchup for November. Trump trails her both in fundraising and campaign organization, but he's intensifying his attacks on the former secretary of state. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapide’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.
    Video

    Video Florida Gets $1 Million in Emergency Government Funding for Orlando

    The U.S. government has granted $1 million in emergency funding to the state of Florida to cover the costs linked to the June 12 massacre in Orlando. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced the grant Tuesday in Orlando, where she met with survivors of the shooting attack that killed 49 people. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video How to Print Impossible Shapes with Metal

    3-D printing with metals is rapidly becoming more advanced. As printers become more affordable, the industry is partnering with universities to refine processes for manufacturing previously impossible things. A new 3-D printing lab aims to bring the new technology closer to everyday use. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Big Somali Community in Minnesota Observes Muslim Religious Feast

    Ramadan is widely observed in the north central US state of Minnesota, which a large Muslim community calls home. VOA Somali service reporter Mohmud Masadde files this report from Minneapolis, the state's biggest city.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora