AP PHOTOS: Kenya's colorful Maasai vote in tight elections

AP News
Posted: Aug 08, 2017 1:40 PM
AP PHOTOS: Kenya's colorful Maasai vote in tight elections

LELE, Kenya (AP) — Kenya's striking Maasai people brought their trademark color and beads the country's elections Tuesday.

In addition to their eye-catching garb, the Maasai are known for their fierce warriors who traditionally hunt lions, but they have rarely been involved in political violence. Many Maasai urged peaceful acceptance of the elections results, in contrast to the violence that broke out after the 2007 elections, which killed more than 1,000 people.

Tonkei Ole Sipala isn't sure how old he is, but he thinks he's about 75. He is a respected elder of his Maasai community who walked several kilometers (miles) in a remote part of Kajiado County to cast his vote in Kenya's national elections on Tuesday.

"I just want all people voting, to vote peacefully and go home. When the results come out we will support the person who will win," says Ole Sipala, who remembered voting for the first time in the early 1960s as Kenya secured independence from British colonial rule.

Tokoyian Ole Siamon, a mother of six decked out in traditional beads while waiting to vote, said she doesn't want any fighting if Kenya's vote is disputed.

The Maasai are mostly pastoralists, herding cattle for their livelihood. Climate change and severe droughts along with rapid population growth have made life more difficult for the Maasai in recent years.