World News

Kenyatta Makes Bid for Presidency Despite ICC Charges

Kenyan politician Uhuru Kenyatta could be elected president despite charges of crimes against humanity stemming from 2008 post-election violence.

The 51-year-old Mr. Kenyatta is the son of Kenya's first president, Jomo Kenyatta, and one of the country's richest men.

He is ranked on the Forbes list of Africa's richest men with an estimated net worth of about $500 million, with his wealth mainly derived from family holdings, which include a half million acres of prime real estate, as well as interests in the media, banking and dairy industries.

But despite all his privileges, Mr. Kenyatta is considered by many to be a man of the people and a political leader of the Kikuyu, Kenya's largest ethnic group.

The presidential front-runner studied political science and economics at Amherst college in the United States.

He began his political career on the urging of Kenya's second president Daniel Arap Moi, who nominated him to parliament and later endorsed his failed 2002 presidential bid.

Mr. Kenyatta made another run for the the office in 2007, but withdrew from the race, putting his support behind the re-election bid of President Mwai Kibaki.

The president appointed Mr. Kenyatta minister of local governments in January 2008. He later took on the posts of deputy prime minister and minister of trade as part of a government coalition deal to end post-election violence that killed 1,100 people.

Mr. Kenyatta is accused of helping to organize the violence by mobilizing a Kikuyu militia group, the Mungiki, which allegedly carried out reprisal attacks against opposition supporters.

Mr. Kenyatta and his running mate William Ruto both face charges at the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity. Both have denied the charges but have agreed to participate in the trial, which is slated to begin next month.

If elected, Mr. Kenyatta will become Kenya's youngest president. He will also be the second African leader indicted by the ICC, along with Sudan's Omar al-Bashir.

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
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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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