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

Nationwide unrest over finance bill left dozens of protesters dead as demonstrators stormed parliament, with hundreds injured or detained; police mission to Haiti began deployment.

Unrest erupted as thousands demonstrated over proposed tax increases. Spontaneous protests, largely driven by middle-class youths organising themselves on social media, 18 June erupted in capital Nairobi against controversial finance bill containing new taxes that many fear will raise already high cost of living and cause job losses; police arrested dozens and used tear gas and water cannons, wounding several demonstrators. Parliamentary finance committee same day announced it would drop certain clauses, although many controversial levies remained including on cancer treatments and female sanitary products. As protests 20 June resumed and spread to towns and cities nationwide, clashes with security forces reportedly left 200 injured; in Nairobi, police allegedly shot and killed one protester, while another reportedly died when hit by tear gas canister. Demonstrators 25 June stormed parliament after lawmakers passed bill, setting fire to parts of building; medic groups said at least 23 killed as police allegedly shot live-rounds to disperse demonstrators. President Ruto next day said he would not sign bill into law and would engage in dialogue with youth. Protests persisted 27 June, albeit at smaller scale, with some members of defence forces deployed in Nairobi to ensure calm.

Attacks bearing Al-Shabaab hallmark persisted in north east. Gunmen 2 June killed village elder in Malamande village in Lamu county, while police 5 June discovered explosive device at border point with Somalia in Mandera county, and assailants 7 June killed four construction workers near border in Garissa county. 

Nairobi-led multinational police mission to Haiti arrived after delays. Amid domestic opposition challenging legality of deployment of 1,000 Kenyan police to lead UN-backed mission to Haiti, Kenyan police chief 18 June met Haitian counterpart to assure him of support, while U.S. same day authorised over $100mn to support mission; first batch of several hundred Kenyan officers 25 June arrived in Haiti (see Haiti). 

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In The News

22 مايو 2024
There is a perception [in Kenya] that democracy hasn’t delivered, that elites which had come to power through elections were not delivering. New York Times

Murithi Mutiga

Program Director, Africa
2 أغسطس 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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