Obama urges Kenya to avoid violence as election looms

President Obama's message to the people of Kenya

Related Stories

US President Barack Obama has urged the people of Kenya, where his father was born, to avoid violence and intimidation in next month's elections.

He posted the message, which begins with a greeting in Swahili, on YouTube.

He said the polls were a chance for Kenyans to come together to show they were not just members of tribes or ethnic groups, but a proud nation.

Kenya's disputed presidential election in 2007 descended into violence in which more than 1,000 were killed.

Kenyans head to the polls on 4 March to vote for president and other offices in the first national election since that violence.

"Kenya must reject intimidation and violence and allow a free and fair vote. Kenyans must resolve disputes in the courts, not in the streets," Mr Obama said in the video message.

"Above all, the people of Kenya must come together before and after the election to carry on the work of building your country," he added.

The US president's father was born in Kenya and his step-grandmother, Sarah Obama, still lives in the village of Kogelo.

Barack Obama senior died in a road accident in Kenya in 1982.

President Obama said he had been "greatly moved" by the "warmth and spirit, the strength and resolve of the Kenyan people" during several trips to his father's homeland and urged Kenyans to mark the 50th anniversary of independence by coming together.

More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

More Africa stories

RSS

Features

  • Atletico's Diego Godin celebrates his goal with teammate David VillaWeek in pictures

    Selection of the best news photographs from around the world


  • Susanne du ToitTop 10 Tips

    Portrait painter Susanne du Toit on being an artist


  • StampsPost independence

    Will stamps get cheaper if Scots go it alone?


  • Rhea10 things

    Rhea birds can be extremely dangerous, plus other factlets


  • Plane at Shannon airportShannon's call

    The airport that hosted a roll-call of presidents


BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.