News / Africa

Peace Restored in Stronghold of Kenya's Election Loser Odinga

Riot police walk past a bonfire lit by supporters of Kenya's Prime Minister Raila Odinga, the defeated presidential candidate, after the Supreme Court ruling, in the western town of Kisumu, Kenya, March 30, 2013.Riot police walk past a bonfire lit by supporters of Kenya's Prime Minister Raila Odinga, the defeated presidential candidate, after the Supreme Court ruling, in the western town of Kisumu, Kenya, March 30, 2013.
x
Riot police walk past a bonfire lit by supporters of Kenya's Prime Minister Raila Odinga, the defeated presidential candidate, after the Supreme Court ruling, in the western town of Kisumu, Kenya, March 30, 2013.
Riot police walk past a bonfire lit by supporters of Kenya's Prime Minister Raila Odinga, the defeated presidential candidate, after the Supreme Court ruling, in the western town of Kisumu, Kenya, March 30, 2013.
Reuters
Calm returned to the western Kenyan stronghold of defeated presidential candidate Raila Odinga on Monday after two days of running battles with police following the Supreme Court's confirmation of his rival Uhuru Kenyatta as president-elect.

Two people were shot dead in the unrest, but the violence was on a much smaller scale than the nationwide bloodshed that followed the 2007 election when the western city of Kisumu was one of the places worst affected places by deadly riots.

This year there was little sign of any violence beyond Kisumu, which strongly backs Odinga, reflecting a desire by Kenyans to avoid a repeat of the bloodshed that badly damaged their economy, east Africa's biggest, five years ago.

Return to normalcy

A busy bus station that had been deserted since the rioting began on Saturday was once again bustling as passengers scrambled to board minibuses as they dozens disembarked after returning from rural areas where they had fled for fear of violence.

"Business is booming today. The demand has gone up and fares doubled since many are returning from home and others leaving for various places," said Bonny Otieno, 32, transporter. "Politics is over and we've embarked on nation-building."

Shops and houses were broken into and goods looted during the rioting. But attempts to set fire to some houses belonging to rival communities were thwarted by police. The regional police chief said the volatile situation had been contained.

Making it official

Kenyatta is expected to be sworn in on April 9.

"So far we have arrested 23 culprits but the number could go up since we are pursuing more elements that broke into people's properties and looted," said police commander Joseph Ole Tito.

"During the violence we lost business forcing us to partially open our shops only when a customer approached. But today we have fully opened since peace has prevailed,"said Ishmael George, 26, a dealer in electronics. "We expect good sales since calm has returned."

The comparatively peaceful election has helped restore Kenya's image as one of Africa's most stable democracies.

Kenyatta vows to represent all Kenyans

The Kisumu unrest appeared to reflect spontaneous anger by Odinga supporters, worried by the prospect of marginalization in a country where governments have traditionally rewarded their own ethnic support base with investment and new infrastructure.

Kenyatta is the son of Kenya's founding president whose family controls vast property and a business empire. But he promised in a televised address after the court ruling to work for all Kenyans, including those who challenged his election.

Kenyatta's indictment by the International Criminal Court for allegedly organizing violent gangs after the least election will however complicate relations with Western states because of their policy of having only "essential contacts" with indictees.

But diplomats said there could be latitude in how to define that if Kenyatta and his deputy, who also faces charges of crimes against humanity, continue to cooperate with the court.

Along the coast, where Odinga also received strong support, peace prevailed, but the banned Mombasa Republican Council [MRC] called on Kenyatta to heed its demand for secession from Kenya. Nairobi has flatly rejected the call.

The MRC feeds off local discontent largely based on long-held grievances over land and frustration at the perceived economic marginalization of the coast by the central government.

Police have given MRC members seven days to give themselves up after blaming the group for a series of attacks in and around Mombasa, the country's main port.

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

Researcher: Obesity Poses Complex Problem

Professor at Symposium on Obesity, Diabetes and Metabolic Syndrome says problem involves more than calorie intake, warns of 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.
Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thoughti
X
George Putic
May 26, 2015 9:26 PM
Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video US-led Coalition Gives Some Weapons to Iraqi Troops

In a video released Tuesday from the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, Iraqi forces and U.S.-led coalition troops survey a cache of weapons supplied to help Iraq liberate Mosul from Islamic State group. According to a statement provided with the video, the ministry and the U.S.-led coaltion troops have started ''supplying the 16th army division with medium and light weapons in preparation to liberate Mosul and nearby areas from Da'esh (Arabic acronym for Islamic State group).''
Video

Video Amnesty International: 'Overwhelming Evidence' of War Crimes in Ukraine

Human rights group Amnesty International says there is overwhelming evidence of ongoing war crimes in Ukraine, despite a tentative cease-fire with pro-Russian rebels. Researchers interviewed more than 30 prisoners from both sides of the conflict and all but one said they were tortured. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Washington Parade Honors Those Killed Serving in US Military

Every year, on the last Monday in the month of May, millions of Americans honor the memories of those killed while serving in the armed forces. Memorial Day is a tradition that dates back to the 19th Century. While many people celebrate the federal holiday with a barbecue and a day off from work, for those who’ve served in the military, it’s a special day to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Arash Arabasadi reports for VOA from Washington.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
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.

VOA Blogs