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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

Tensions rose with Somalia, with both countries deploying troops to shared border, while Al-Shabaab intensified attacks in north and east. President Kenyatta mid-Dec received President Bihi of Somalia’s breakaway state Somaliland in capital Nairobi; counterparts announced that Kenya would open consulate in Somaliland’s capital and that Somaliland would upgrade its liaison office in Nairobi by March; during Bihi’s visit, Somalia 15 Dec cut diplomatic relations with Kenya for “constantly interfering” in its internal affairs. In following days, both Kenya and Somalia reportedly deployed forces along common border to Mandera county and Gedo region respectively. Somalia 19 Dec accused Kenya of hosting and arming Somali militia to launch cross-border attacks and said it would take “all necessary steps” to protect its “territorial integrity”. Kenyatta and Somalia President Farmajo 20 Dec met during summit of regional bloc Intergovernmental Authority on Development. Djibouti 25 Dec deployed fact-finding mission to assess situation at Somalia-Kenya border. In Garissa county in east, Al-Shabaab 2 Dec attacked Amuma police station, injuring police officer. In Wajir county in north east, Al-Shabaab 18 Dec abducted local official in Gumarey sub-location and later beheaded him. In Lamu county in east, Al-Shabaab 20 Dec ambushed police escort vehicle on Lamu-Gamba road, no casualties reported; security forces 27 Dec shot and killed seven Al-Shabaab militants in Boni forest. In Mandera county in north east, Al-Shabaab 29 Dec ambushed ambulance, killing civilian. In border area between Garissa and Isiolo counties, clashes between ethnic Borana and Somali 1 Dec left seven dead. In Mombasa county in south, police 1 Dec arrested 91 suspected members of separatist Mombasa Republican Council in Mirironi village. Kenyatta and opposition leader Raila Odinga’s signature campaign to trigger referendum on constitutional reform concluded 4 Dec; electoral commission 30 Dec started to verify signatures.

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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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