Ten years after a disputed presidential poll brought Kenya to the brink of civil war, the August 2017 general election was won comfortably by President Uhuru Kenyatta. Although reforms introduced in the 2010 constitution have helped avert large-scale fighting, sporadic outbreaks of violence followed claims by opposition leader Raila Odinga that results had been manipulated. Ethnic divisions continue to be a key driver of electoral violence in Kenya and must be addressed by the government through reforms aimed at a more inclusive democracy. By engaging relevant actors and carrying out field-based research, we work at the national and local levels to build sustainable peace and to help advance reforms that can consolidate democratic gains.
Climate change, politics and resource competition are colliding again in a deadly combination on Kenya’s fertile Laikipia plateau. Crisis Group visited the region and talked with herders and farmers about the devastating drought, the loss of cattle, the violence in the area and intercommunal tensions.
Authorities stepped up mediation role in Ethiopia and DR Congo (DRC) conflicts, while insecurity persisted notably near Somalia border and in Rift Valley.
Opposition faced internal rifts, warned about threats to judicial independence. Former President Kenyatta’s Jubilee party 10 Nov threatened to withdraw from Azimio coalition after Azimio leadership in Senate removed Jubilee candidate from list of nominees to Parliamentary Service Commission. Orange Democratic Movement and Wiper Democratic Movement – both Azimio members – 17 Nov secured election of respective leaders’ children as members of Eastern African Legislative Assembly, prompting Jubilee to denounce “dynasty” politics. Meanwhile, court 10 Nov dropped $60m corruption case against Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua and nine others, citing lack of evidence; runner-up in Aug presidential election Raila Odinga immediately denounced lack of judicial independence.
Nairobi played key role in regional efforts to advance peace. Govt from 12 Nov deployed troops to eastern DRC as part of East African Community (EAC) force. After touring region 4-15 Nov in effort to de-escalate tensions between Rwanda and DRC, EAC peace process facilitator for DRC, former President Kenyatta, 18 Nov reported agreement with Rwandan President Kagame “to urge the M23 to cease fire and withdraw from captured territory” in North Kivu, paving way for broader regional call on 23 Nov (see DR Congo). Nairobi 28 Nov also hosted third round of EAC talks between Congolese govt and some armed groups active in country’s eastern provinces. After Kenyatta played key role in mediating 2 Nov peace deal between Addis Ababa and Tigray, Nairobi 7-12 Nov hosted follow-up talks between parties (see Ethiopia).
Al-Shabaab remained active, govt continued operations against cattle rustling. Police 1 Nov reported suspected Al-Shabaab elements kidnapped four, including paramedics, in ambush on ambulance in Mandera county near Somalia border. In Rift Valley, interior ministry 8 Nov said police recovered over 700 livestock and shot one suspect dead in operation targeting cattle rustling in Turkana county; Interior Cabinet Secretary Kithure Kindiki 9, 18 and 23 Nov met regional leaders in Baringo, West Pokot and Samburu counties to discuss insecurity.
Post-conflict societies rarely earn the right lessons, but I think Kenya did. It adopted a new constitution with a relatively independent judiciary that led to a more con...
Kenya is one of the few countries [in Africa] where you go into an election without knowing who is going to win.
If [Kenyan President] Kenyatta can achieve a ceasefire that potentially stops a catastrophic confrontation among warring actors in Ethiopia, that would give him quite an ...
Northern Kenya is increasingly looking like an area that al-Shabab seeks to incorporate under its rule rather than just using it as a rear base.
When [Kenya's opposition leader Raila Odinga] has a seat at the table, you expect that there will be less inclination to behave irresponsibly and to close down the democr...
The U.S. is no longer the dominant external actor in Africa, and must compete for influence not only with China, but a host of other, increasingly assertive, states pursu...
On 5 September, Kenya’s Supreme Court upheld Deputy President William Ruto’s victory in the 9 August presidential election. The decision concludes a hard-fought electoral campaign that, despite high stakes, was peaceful and transparent, showing the strength of the country’s institutions.
This week on The Horn, Alan is joined by Murithi Mutiga, Crisis Group’s Africa program director, to discuss the outcome of Kenya’s closely fought, high-stakes election.
Kenya’s highly anticipated vote featuring two political heavyweights, Orange Democratic Movement leader Raila Odinga and Deputy President William Ruto, is likely to be closely fought. In this Q&A, Crisis Group expert Meron Elias outlines what is at stake.
A historic drought in Kenya is coinciding with a hotly contested election. Nerves in central and northern Kenya are fraying, as climate stresses intensify intercommunal conflict and amplify electoral tensions.
In a three-part special episode of The Horn, Alan speaks to three Crisis Group experts across the Horn of Africa and Great Lakes regions. He talks with William Davison about the prospects for peace talks in Ethiopia, to Nelleke van de Walle about Kenya’s new diplomatic efforts in the eastern DR Congo, and to Nazanine Moshiri about the drought devastating the Horn region.
This week on Hold Your Fire! Richard Atwood talks to expert Murithi Mutiga about Kenya’s August election, as Deputy President William Ruto faces off against opposition leader Raila Odinga, who is now backed by Ruto’s former ally, President Uhuru Kenyatta, in a country where bloodshed after previous disputed votes still casts a long shadow.
The 9 August presidential vote in Kenya pits the incumbent’s favourite against a populist challenger. It will be hard-fought. To avert the violence that has marred past contests, the two candidates should pledge to resolve any dispute in court. External actors can also help.
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