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.

CrisisWatch Kenya

Unchanged Situation

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).

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In The News

2 Aug 2022
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... VOA

Meron Elias

East and Southern Africa Analyst

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Meron Elias

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