ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Strains in Kenya

There is more of factional rivalry than abuse of democracy behind the recent violence in Kenya. 

Internecine killings and violence have rocked the east African nation Kenya ever since the results of the December 27 presidential elections were announced. The decision of the election commission in Kenya to declare the victory of incumbent president Mwai Kibaki of the Party of National Unity (PNU) has been the spur for these incidents, in which around 600 people have been reported to have been killed.

It was widely believed that the results of the elections would have been extremely close with the opposition leader Raila Odinga of the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) mounting a strong challenge to Kibaki’s rule. However, with reports of widespread rigging and electoral malpractices, the declared victory of Kibaki is seen to be a dubious one by several independent observers. The fact that the major candidates belong to different tribes – Odinga from the Luo tribe and Kibaki from the Kiyuki tribe – is seen as the reason for violence against the Kiyuki tribe members by disenchanted voters belonging to the Luo and other tribes. The most prominent incident of violence involved the burning of a church which had provided refuge to members of the Kikuyu tribe in a small town about 185 miles away from the capital, Nairobi, which killed a number of people trapped inside.

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