News / Africa

Kiambaa Kenyans Reflect on Past Election Violence

Members of the Kikuyu and Kalenjin tribes are seen gathering for a peace meeting in Eldoret, Kenya, in this June 27, 2009, file photo.Members of the Kikuyu and Kalenjin tribes are seen gathering for a peace meeting in Eldoret, Kenya, in this June 27, 2009, file photo.
x
Members of the Kikuyu and Kalenjin tribes are seen gathering for a peace meeting in Eldoret, Kenya, in this June 27, 2009, file photo.
Members of the Kikuyu and Kalenjin tribes are seen gathering for a peace meeting in Eldoret, Kenya, in this June 27, 2009, file photo.
— Five years ago during election-related violence in Kenya, young people brutally attacked and burned a church in Kiambaa - which housed ethnic Kikuyus who fled from their farms and houses. Today, on the eve of another election, locals remembered the tragedy at a church service.
 
Worshipers sang at Kiambaa Church in Eldoret, in the Rift Valley region of Kenya. It was here in early 2008 when young men from the Kalenjin and Kikuyu tribes fought around the church, which housed hundreds of people who had fled their homes during the initial post-election violence.
 
According to some of the witnesses and survivors, about 200 Kikuyu men tried to defend their women and children inside the church.
 
After more than an hour fighting, they say the Kikuyu men were overpowered by more than 1,000 Kalenjin youths who were attacking the church from all directions.
 
Anne Mwangi, now 44, is one of the people in the church who survived that day with her four children.
 
She says when she escaped the church the attackers grabbed her hand and said they were trying protect her while she looked for her children. She says when she reached the gate, she was shocked when she saw an old man hacked to death with an axe.
 
Peter Mwangi is the son of the man who hacked to death that day. Mwangi says he and his father were among the people who tried to fight back and defend their families being attacked inside the church.
 
The father of two says when they were overpowered he and other young men tried to run to the main road to call for help.
 
He says it took two hours for the police to arrive and chase the attackers away. After that, he says they saw their people had been burned to death in the church and some killed outside.
 
Lingering fears

In this election the political landscape is different as Kikuyu and Kalenjin are united in the Jubilee alliance.
 
But for Peter Mwangi, the grief of his loss then is as real as his fear today. He says he could not go back to point out where his father was killed because of possible reprisals from some of his neighbors.
 
He says the locals are from different tribes, and some of his neighbors are not good people. He says he fears they will think he is giving out information on the attackers and it is best not to speak about it.
 
Paul Karanja is a pastor in the new church, built 10 meters from where the original church was burned down. He says this community did not get enough help from the police following the last elections and there is little faith the response will be better if there is election violence again.
 
“We thought policemen could help [protect] us from the attacks, although they did not. Houses were burned when police were there. They were just shooting up [in the air], but they were doing nothing else…”
 
Human-rights organizations have also raised concerns about the ability of the Kenyan police to handle possible election-related violence. But security officials have assured Kenyans this time that they are ready and up to the task.

You May Like

Video China Investigates Powerful Former Security Chief

Analysts say move by President Xi is an effort to win more party support, take step toward economic reforms, removing those who would stand in way of change More

South Africa Land Reforms Still Contentious 20 Years Later

Activists argue that the pace of land reform is slow and biased; legal experts question how some proposed reforms would be implemented More

In Vietnam, Religious Freedoms Violated, UN Finds

Beliefs reportedly prompt heavy surveillance, intimidation and travel restrictions More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Robert Samuel from: South Sudan-Yambio
March 04, 2013 4:13 AM
I,m appealing to all Kenyan community during this election,please you need to vote peacefully without violation as it was in the past election.why can,t we African practice Democracy in Africa?and i,m also asking our government of south sudan to have UNITY and avoid division among the youth of the New Nation.and go for peaceful and demorcratic election in 2015.UNITE we Stand,Divide we FALL.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelteri
X
Scott Bobb
July 30, 2014 8:16 PM
Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelter

Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Rapid Spread of Ebola in West Africa Prompts Global Alert

Across West Africa, health officials are struggling to keep up with what the World Health Organization describes as the worst ebola outbreak on record. The virus has killed hundreds of people this year. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are watching the developments closely as they weigh what actions, if any, are needed to help contain the disease.
Video

Video Michelle Obama: Young Africans Need to Embrace Women's Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama urged some of Africa's best and brightest to advocate for women's rights in their home countries. As VOA's Pam Dockins explains, Obama spoke to some 500 participants of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a six-week U.S.-based training and development program.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.
Video

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video A Summer Camp for All the World

VIDEO: During workshops and social gatherings, the Global Youth Village summer camp encourages young people to cooperate and embrace their differences, while learning to communicate with people from other countries. VOA's Deborah Block has more.
Video

Video From Cantankerous Warlock to Incorruptible Priest, 'Harry Potter' Actor Embraces Diverse Roles

He’s perhaps best known as Mad Eye Moody, the whimsical wizard in the Harry Potter franchise. But character actor Brendan Gleeson's resume includes dozens of films, and he embraces all the characters he inhabits with equal passion. In an interview with VOA’s Penelope Poulou, Gleeson discussed his new drama "Calvary" and his secret to success.

AppleAndroid