Kenyan VP Calls For Peaceful Elections

“There is no other alternative, the next elections must be peaceful, free and fair. I call upon all Kenyans to embrace peace as we prepare for the next polls,” said Kalonzo Musyoka.

Hundreds died and more than half a million people were displaced in the months of ethnic clashes that followed the disputed 2007 election. International mediation eventually succeeded in calming East Africa’s main economy.

This week, 53 people were killed in violence that the Kenyan Red Cross said was reminiscent of the previous election cycle. Smaller scale incidents have been taking place since the start of the year, the aid group warned.

“I want to assure Kenyans that never again will people kill and maim each other for political reasons. There will be no bloodshed in this country because of elections,” Musyoka told a church gathering, according to The Nation newspaper online.

Catherine Ashton, the European Union’s top diplomat, is due to hold talks with Kenyan leaders in Nairobi next week.

On a visit to the country this month, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urged politicians to ensure free and fair elections to avoid conflict.

Two of the main contenders of the presidency, Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto, both face charges at the International Criminal Court over their alleged involvement in the 2007-08 violence.

The trial is set to start in April, about a month after the first round of elections is scheduled. – SAPA