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.
A series of failed rainy seasons in northern Kenya has sharpened competition among herders, farmers and conservancy owners for land and water, often resulting in bloodshed. Authorities should redouble aid to hard-hit areas and, with donor support, look for ways to encourage sharing of resources.
Major points of contention persisted between govt and opposition despite positive steps toward de-escalating tensions; resource conflict fuelled by drought continued in northern counties.
Opposition entered fragile talks with govt but called for new protests. Opposition leader Raila Odinga 2 March suspended anti-govt protests after President Ruto same day agreed to form bipartisan committee to review selection process for election commissioners. Country’s top prosecutor next day dropped charges of unlawful assembly levelled in March at several opposition lawmakers; govt however refused to engage on other opposition demands, including cost of living and audit of Aug 2022 election servers. In attempt to increase pressure, Odinga 13 April announced protests would resume after holy month of Ramadan, and 23 April scheduled protest for 2 May. Bilateral talks 20 April kicked off but Odinga’s coalition 25 April suspended participation amid disagreement over composition of negotiating delegations and topics to be discussed.
Violence over cattle and land resources continued in north amid historic drought. Cattle theft and banditry continued in Rift Valley despite military operation. Notably, raiders believed to be from Turkana county 6 April killed five people and injured another in Lami Nyeusi village in West Pokot county, also stealing goats.
In other important developments. President Ruto’s senior economic adviser David Ndii 8 April suggested govt might need to take further austerity measures to avoid debt default and stabilise economy; govt is struggling to pay public servants’ salaries and basic imports as debt service consumes over 60% of govt revenue. Ruto 4-5 April visited Rwandan capital Kigali for talks on eastern Democratic Republic of Congo with Rwandan counterpart Kagame (see DR Congo). Intergovernmental Authority on Development regional bloc 16 April appointed Ruto to mediate conflict in Sudan, along with South Sudanese and Djibouti counterparts (see Sudan).
Nous sommes préoccupés par le temps que le Kenya pourra consacrer à la politique étrangère et à la médiation régionale s'il est accaparé par tant de dossiers au niveau na...
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.
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.
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