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Kenya

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

Deteriorated Situation

Political tensions and uncertainty mounted after Supreme Court 1 Sept annulled 8 Aug presidential election result on grounds that process was not conducted in accordance with constitution and ordered new vote to be held within two months; electoral commission (IEBC) set 26 Oct for new poll. Opposition NASA coalition 14 Sept threatened to boycott vote unless major changes made to IEBC leadership. Ruling Jubilee Party 28 Sept proposed changes to electoral laws including dropping electronic transmission as primary mode of relaying tallies from polling stations; NASA walked out of talks 28 Sept, said if laws passed it would launch nationwide protests and boycott election. Suspected Al-Shabaab gunmen 3 Sept killed two police officers guarding church in Ukunda town, south of Mombasa. In Lamu county, suspected Al-Shabaab militants 6 Sept beheaded four people. In north east, Al-Shabaab 19 Sept destroyed telecommunication mast in Mandera county and exchanged fire with soldiers before retreating. One police officer killed 11 Sept when police vehicle hit IED in Lamu county.

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Reports & Briefings

In The News

10 Oct 2017
The [Kenyan] political elites have really squandered the opportunity to consolidate the country's democracy. We may see clashes between protesters and police. It looks grim. Reuters

Murithi Mutiga

Senior Analyst, Horn of Africa
10 Oct 2017
[Kenya is] in uncharted waters. Both the opposition and ruling party need to show greater responsibility to find a settlement that allows the country to move. Associated Press

Murithi Mutiga

Senior Analyst, Horn of Africa
5 Oct 2017
Climatic stresses are creating conditions for armed conflicts and terrorism to thrive in [the Horn of Africa] region. Xinhua

Rashid Abdi

Project Director, Horn of Africa
1 Sep 2017
[The decision of Kenya's Supreme Court to annul the presidential election result] is an in­cred­ibly important moment for democracy for Africa. The Washington Post

Murithi Mutiga

Senior Analyst, Horn of Africa
18 Aug 2017
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. Reuters

Murithi Mutiga

Senior Analyst, Horn of Africa
14 Aug 2017
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. Los Angeles Times

Murithi Mutiga

Senior Analyst, Horn of Africa

Latest Updates

Statement / Africa

Kenya Should Come Together After its Contested Elections

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.

Commentary / Africa

Essential Guide to Kenya’s High Stakes Election on 8 August

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.

Commentary / Africa

Violence, Land, and the Upcoming Vote in Kenya’s Laikipia Region

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.

Commentary / Africa

Ethnic Contest and Electoral Violence in Northern Kenya

Kenya’s 2010 constitution was intended to end fierce electoral battles, but in the northern counties of Isiolo and Marsabit it has exacerbated ethnic and border tensions. To prevent these issues causing electoral violence in August, stakeholders should deploy more personnel and work toward intercommunal reconciliation.

Commentary / Africa

August Election Tensions Rise in Storied Kenyan County

The stakes are high in contests for local power in Kenya’s August 2017 elections. There is still time for the government and international donors to help avert a replay of past electoral violence, notably by renewing support for local peace committees.