News / Africa

Political Tensions in Kenya Cause Concern

Kenyan police are seen dispersing a rally by university students in Kenya's capital Nairobi, May 20, 2014.
Kenyan police are seen dispersing a rally by university students in Kenya's capital Nairobi, May 20, 2014.
Political tensions are once again on the rise in Kenya, as the opposition demands the government do more to address growing insecurity and economic problems. Ongoing tensions make clear political differences that almost tore apart the country seven years ago have not yet been resolved.
 
Speaking to more than 100,000 supporters Saturday, former prime minister Raila Odinga and other opposition leaders called on the government to convene a national forum to discuss Kenya's worsening security, economic and political situation.
 
The opposition warned that unless government heeds the call, it should prepare for demonstrations across the country.
 
In response, President Uhuru Kenyatta agreed to dialogue but ruled out sharing power with the opposition.
 
Some lawmakers allied with the government advised the opposition to use constitutional means to address the challenges facing the country.
 
The chairman of the Political Parties Collaborative Forum, Colonel Mwema, says the ruling party holds a majority in both houses of parliament.  But he warns the party must listen to its critics.
 
“When you are in the government you are comfortable. You have no problems, but other people outside the government have problems that are valid," he said. "And these problems are pushing everybody to a corner, and if they are not addressed, they will cause political instability in the country in the future.”
 
Mwema also says failure to address pressing issues like insecurity, corruption, and the high cost of basic commodities could result in unrest and disorder.
 
In the last few years, Kenya has made progress in building credible government institutions, to avoid a replay of the deadly post-election violence six years ago.  That violence, largely along ethnic lines, left more than 1,100 people dead and displaced hundreds of thousands of Kenyans.
 
The violence subsided only after the international community sent former United Nations chief Kofi Annan to broker a political deal between Odinga and then-President Mwai Kibaki.
 
This time around, Mwema says, the country has the capacity to solve a political crisis - as long as the political will is there.
 
“Actually, as a country we have the capacity to do it without any outside assistance," he said. "We can do it. If there is political good will, it can happen, but if there is no political goodwill then it means we will have to go out and look for someone who we think is neutral and can put us together.”
 
Kenyatta and his deputy, William Ruto, both face charges by the International Criminal Court, which contends they helped to orchestrate the violence in 2008.
 
Ruto's trial began last year. Kenyatta's trial has been repeatedly postponed.

You May Like

Ebola Death Toll Nears 5,000 as Virus Advances

West Africa bears heaviest burden; Mali toddler’s death raises new fears More

Jordan’s Battle With Islamic State Militants Carries Domestic Risks

Despite Western concerns that IS militants are preparing a Jordanian offensive, analysts call the kingdom's solid intel a strong deterrent More

Asian-Americans Assume Office in Record Numbers

Steadily deepening engagement in local politics pays off for politicians like Chinese-American Judy Chu More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Comanche Chief Quanah Parker’s Century-Old House Falling Apart

One of the most fascinating people in U.S. history was Quanah Parker, the last chief of the American Indian tribe, the Comanche. He was the son of a Comanche warrior and a white woman who had been captured by the Indians. Parker was a fierce warrior until 1875 when he led his people to Fort Sill, Oklahoma, and took on a new, peaceful life. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Cache, Oklahoma, Quanah’s image remains strong among his people, but part of his heritage is in danger of disappearing.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid