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

DRC Tries Mega-Farms to Feed Population

Park at Boukanga Lonzo currently has 5,000 hectares under cultivation, crops stretching as far as eye can see, and is start of ambitious large-scale agriculture plan More

Video Survivor Video Testimonies Recount Horrors of Guatemalan Genocide

During a conflict that spanned more than three decades, tens of thousands of indigenous Mayans were killed More

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Areas are spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, source of livelihood for fishermen and herders who have called the marshes home for generations More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs