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

How to Safeguard Your Mobile Privacy

As the digital world becomes more mobile, so too do concerns about eroding privacy and increased hacking More

'Desert Dancer' Chronicles Iranian Underground Dance Troupe

Film by Richard Raymond is based on true story of Afshin Ghaffarian and his friends More

Obesity Poses Complex Problem

Professor warns of obesity’s worldwide health impact More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam Wari
X
Katherine Gypson
May 25, 2015 1:32 AM
For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.
Video

Video On Film: How Dance Defies Iran's Political Oppression

'Desert Dancer' by filmmaker Richard Raymond is based on the true story of a group of young Iranians, who form an underground dance troupe in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is the latest in a genre of films that focus on dance as a form of freedom of expression against political oppression and social injustice. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Turkey's Ruling Party Trying to Lure Voters in Opposition Stronghold

Turkey’s AK (Justice and Development) Party is seeking a fourth successive general election victory, with the goal of securing two-thirds of the seats in Parliament to rewrite the constitution and change the country's parliamentary system into a presidential one. To achieve that, the party will need to win seats in opposition strongholds like the western city of Izmir. Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.
Video

Video Scientists Testing Space Propulsion by Light

Can the sun - the heart of our solar system - power a spacecraft to the edge of our solar system? The answer may come from a just-launched small satellite designed to test the efficiency of solar sail propulsion. Once deployed, its large sail will catch the so-called solar wind and slowly reach what scientists hope to be substantial speed. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video FIFA Trains Somali Referees

As stability returns to the once lawless nation of Somalia, the world football governing body, FIFA, is helping to rebuild the country’s sport sector by training referees as well as its young footballers. Abdulaziz Billow has more from Mogadishu.
Video

Video With US Child Obesity Rates on the Rise, Program Promotes Health Eating

In its fifth year, FoodCorps puts more than 180 young Americans into 500 schools across the United States, where they focus on teaching students about nutrition, engaging them with hands-on activities, and improving their access to healthy foods whether in the cafeteria or the greater community. Aru Pande has more.
Video

Video Virginia Neighborhood Draws People to Nostalgic Main Street

In the U.S., people used to grow up in small towns with a main street lined by family-owned shops and restaurants. Today, however, many main streets are worn down and empty because shoppers have been lured away by shopping malls. But in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia, main street is thriving. VOA’s Deborah Block reports it has a nostalgic feel with its small restaurants and unique stores.

VOA Blogs