Contrary to the deadly election of 2007, Kenya’s pivotal and highly-anticipated 2017 national and local polls passed without major outbreaks of violence. But in order to build on this achievement, Kenyans must take further steps to overcome ethnic divisions and work toward greater national unity and inclusive governance.
CrisisWatch is a monthly early warning bulletin designed to provide a regular update on the state of the most significant situations of conflict around the world.
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Since October 2016, protests and strikes related to sectoral demands have escalated into a crisis over the economic and political marginalisation of Cameroon’s Anglophone minority. Although the government has made some concessions, it must rebuild mutual trust with Anglophone actors in order to avoid instability ahead of the 2018 general elections.
Settling the place of Islam in Mali’s society and politics is a less visible but longer-term challenge to the state than its rebellious north and stalled peace process. The government should work toward a partnership with religious authorities to enable them to play a stabilising role.
China, traditionally averse to intervening abroad, is testing the role of peacebuilder in South Sudan, where it has unique leverage. This could portend a growing global security role, but further Chinese engagement will likely be tempered by self-interest, capacity constraints and aversion to risk.
The clock is ticking for President Trump who must decide by 12 July whether to lift decades-long U.S. sanctions on Sudan. The failure of economic penalties to alter Khartoum’s behaviour so far means Washington should repeal some sanctions and continue a process of conditional engagement.
While the chance is small that August 2017 elections ignite a major conflict, county governorship races could well trigger inter-ethnic clashes in the Rift Valley, Kenya’s populous economic heart. The government should train police in non-violent methods that de-escalate crises, and restart grassroots peacebuilding initiatives.
Five million people are hit by the humanitarian fallout of the Boko Haram insurgency. Beyond ending the war, this briefing, the last of four examining famine threats in Nigeria, Yemen, South Sudan and Somalia, urges donors to fund their UN aid pledges in full and the Nigerian government to step up relief for its citizens.
The biggest challenge [for President Buhari] would be to calm nerves and curb divisions, to rally Nigerians around a common vision for the country and bring some urgency towards pursuing that vision.
Many politicians don't do their jobs properly so there's continual frustration [in Kenya]. But now at least people know they can have some say in how their resources are managed.
It can be argued that fake news in the lead-up to the [Kenyan] elections was just aimed at boosting political support. Now, when it’s a question of life or death, it’s much more dangerous.
After independence, the politicians found this system of ethnic politics convenient. In Kenya, unfortunately, they continued to use ethnicity as the main tool on which to run elections.
[Kenyan] politics now remain really in the grip of a few ethnic, oligarchic families that essentially practice ‘machine’ politics.
[D]evolution [in Kenya] is both a blessing and a curse. [I]t has been very successful in creating local accountability ... but it has also devolved quite a few problems.
For the past twelve months, Crisis Group has closely monitored and assessed developments in the run-up to Kenya's 8 August 2017 election. In this letter to our readers, Africa Program Director Comfort Ero highlights Crisis Group's flagship Kenya publications that have helped inform stakeholders of looming threats and ongoing electoral issues.
Kenya’s 8 August elections are rapidly approaching and concerns continue to mount over the prospect of electoral violence. In this Q&A, Senior Kenya Analyst Murithi Mutiga looks at what is at stake and assesses efforts to prevent another violent fallout from the balloting.
Traditional stakeholders Europe and the U.S. are reassessing their commitments in Africa, generating new geopolitical realities for the African Union. Africa Program Director Comfort Ero argues that the AU’s future relevance and credibility will depend on its ability to generate more unity and leadership.
Crisis Group’s Senior Analyst Murithi Mutiga has just returned from a weeklong tour of the troubled central Kenyan county of Laikipia, where violence between indigenous nomadic pastoralists and ranchers is escalating in the run-up to elections scheduled for 8 August.
Crisis Group’s second update to our Watch List 2017 includes entries on Nigeria, Qatar, Thailand and Venezuela. These early-warning publications identify conflict situations in which prompt action by the European Union and its member states would generate stronger prospects for peace.