News / Africa

Tribal Politics at Play in Kenya's Election

Tribal Politics at Play in Kenya's Electioni
X
February 25, 2013
Kenya's national elections for parliament and president are scheduled for March 4. The country's leaders are hoping to avoid the violence that followed the 2007 voting when more than 1,100 people were killed. VOA's Gabe Joselow takes us to the capital's Kibera slum, where most voters appear to support Prime Minister Raila Odinga for president
TEXT SIZE - +
Gabe Joselow
— Kenya's national elections for parliament and president are scheduled for March 4.    The country's leaders are hoping to avoid a repeat of the violence that followed the 2007 vote when more than 1,100 people were killed.
 
It’s campaign season in the Kibera slum in Nairobi. Walls are plastered with posters as politicians try to pull votes from this sprawling constituency.

The area is a stronghold of Prime Minister Raila Odinga, who was a member of parliament for the region.
 
Kibera resident Helen Abuya says she hopes if Odinga is elected he will improve the lives of people here.
 
“For Kibera, we are very poor people, we don’t have water…. We want change.”

Abuya adds she would want to live in a house made of durable materials, not of “mabati,” a local type of corrugated wood.
 
Kibera is one of the poorest areas of Kenya, with most people living on less than $1 a day. Development has been scarce, and more than anything, residents say they want better opportunities to work.
 
Daniel Aduma has lived in Kibera for the past 25 years. He says he’s disappointed with the previous government and that it’s time to give someone else a chance.
 
“We have had previous ones. So let’s try [leaders from] another tribe, like from the western region, let’s see if they can help.”

Tribal tensions

The population of Kibera is primarily from the Luo community - the same as Odinga. His main rival, Uhuru Kenyatta, is a Kikuyu. Disputes between Luos and Kikuyu landlords here have led to conflicts in the past.
 
Violence erupted in Kibera following the disputed presidential election in 2007. Police had to surround the neighborhood with barricades for several months to keep fighting from spreading to other parts of the city.
 
It is more peaceful now, but also more divided, with tribal communities keeping with their own and not mingling much. And tensions remain very high.
 
Professor Joshua Kivuva from the University of Nairobi says tribalism and politics go hand in hand in Kibera.
 
“In fact, this is a time that class is a dominant thing in Kenyan politics, but in the slum areas it is not going to be that because ethnicity is a more overriding factor. And especially knowing the distribution of slums and the presidential candidates, that the two dominant communities that live in slums are also the two dominant communities that are contesting the presidency.”
 
The vote is expected to be extremely close. Opinion polls show the main candidates virtually tied.
 
While Kibera has its favorite, residents are simply hoping more than anything for peace.

You May Like

Wikipedia Proves Useful for Tracking Flu

Technique gave better results than Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Google’s Flu Trends More

Turkish Law Gives Spy Agency Controversial Powers

Parliament approves legislation to bolster powers of intelligence service, which government claims is necessary to modernize and deal with new threats Turkey faces More

Video Face of American Farmer Changing

Average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Face of American Farmer is Changingi
X
Mike Osborne
April 18, 2014
The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid