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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

Unchanged Situation

President Kenyatta adopted confrontational stance toward judiciary, govt took steps to mend relations with Somalia, and Al-Shabaab launched further attacks in north east. Following High Court’s ruling in May that controversial attempt by Kenyatta and his de facto ally, opposition leader Raila Odinga, to amend constitution was illegal, Kenyatta 1 June accused judiciary of “testing constitutional limits” and attempting “to stop the will of the people”; govt next day formally appealed High Court’s ruling. Kenyatta 3 June refused to confirm appointment to various courts of six of 40 judges who had been awaiting his green light since 2019 to take up new positions. Ahead of 2022 general elections, four ruling Jubilee Party MPs 23 June declared support to Deputy President William Ruto; Ruto, himself a Jubilee member, has long been locked in power struggle with Kenyatta. Somalia 4 June accused Kenyan forces of killing civilians in two “indiscriminate airstrikes” in Somalia’s Gedo region, Jubaland state previous day. Govt 10 June lifted ban it had imposed in May on flights to and from Somalia, saying it hoped “goodwill measure” would lead to “full normalisation of bilateral relations”; Somalia 12 June offered to resume full diplomatic relations, which Nairobi 14 June accepted. Meanwhile, Al-Shabaab-related violence continued in north east; notably, police 5 June killed at least three suspected Al-Shabaab combatants in Boni forest and suspected militants 7-23 killed at least six people in Mandera county.
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Reports & Briefings

In The News

16 Jun 2020
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. The New Humanitarian

Omar Mahmood

Senior Analyst, Somalia
15 Mar 2018
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 democratic space. World Politics Review

Murithi Mutiga

Project Director, Horn of Africa
9 Mar 2018
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 pursuing their own agendas. Reuters

EJ Hogendoorn

Former Deputy Program Director, Africa
9 Mar 2018
It is vital that [Kenya’s President Kenyatta and opposition leader Odinga] invest heavily in ensuring that a more lasting settlement emerges from their talks. Reuters

Murithi Mutiga

Project Director, Horn of Africa
2 Feb 2018
While we were hoping that [Kenya], after a bruising election season, could pull together, that seems a lost hope. The Wall Street Journal

Murithi Mutiga

Project Director, Horn of Africa
30 Jan 2018
[Kenya's President] Kenyatta, by resisting all attempts at dialogue, has put himself in a position where he will continue to struggle to be seen as the president of all Kenyans. Reuters

Murithi Mutiga

Project Director, Horn of Africa

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