African business, politics and lifestyle
Has Kenya learned from the 2007/2008 post-election violence?
By Isaac Esipisu
Kenya is set to hold in December of this year its first elections since the 2007 vote that was marred by deadly violence. The east African country’s election will come under intense scrutiny because it will be the first under a new constitution and the first since the 2007 poll in which more than 1,220 people were killed, mostly in post-election violence.
The bloodshed and property destruction were unprecedented. Many Kenyans were rendered homeless as well; many as I write are still leaving as internally displaced persons (IDPs)
The International Criminal Court’s chief prosecutor later named six people suspected of bearing the greatest responsibility for the post-election violence in 2007. The ICC’s move was viewed by optimists as the end of the country’s culture of impunity, but pessimists feared it could spark a new round of ethnic blood-letting.
Proponents of the Hague process see it as the only way of achieving justice in a country where those in high office have never been brought to account for their actions
Later this year ICC announced cases of crimes against humanity against four out of the six suspected, including two top presidential contenders — Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto. It has been argued that Kenyatta and Ruto cannot contest the presidency after being charged by the ICC with crimes against humanity.
Critics question why Uhuru and Ruto plan to run especially with the ICC charges hanging over their heads. Their bids may violate the Constitution and could undermine the country’s fragile democracy if they seek the presidency while facing charges of crimes against humanity.
Four years on, the process of National Healing, Peace and Reconciliation is still wanting. We are still seeing tendencies that reflect that we learned nothing as a result of the post election violence and this is not a good sign with another election a few months away.
The good thing is that we are seeing people becoming more tolerant in as far as political differences are concerned and the country can grow politically. Kenyans should be encouraged to start being very clear about their political leanings in a process that makes this usual. Kenyans should start looking at each other as brothers and sisters sharing the same resources but having different political preferences when elections are called. And this must not lead to conflict.
Do you think that Kenyans have learned their lessons for the 2007 post election violence? Is the political scene polarized inside Kenya ? Are the suspected leaders behind the 2007 clashes trying to rule Kenya with impunity and are they trying to use the tribal charm card to rule Kenya ? Do you think the elections will be free of violence?