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

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.
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.
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