Africa News blog

African business, politics and lifestyle

Has Kenya learned from the 2007/2008 post-election violence?

February 15, 2012

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?

Comments

We have no learnt the lessons.

Posted by WanjikuRevolt | Report as abusive
 

We kenyans never learn at all. A situation has to repeat a lot times for us to hind learning. With the examples of siphoning oil tunks during times of accidents and last year pipeline burst tells us alot about how its very hard to make a kenyan understand the risks involve. For our country to be able to learn about the post election we have to push our country to become as lawless as somali for us to be able to understand the situation. We never seek legal measures in sorting our problem and we only go for the shortest way possible. Currently communities are already in arms against each other because of land disputes. The government of kenya has propagated the situation by playing the ignorance bit until when the situation reaches the prime level thats when they intervenes. In my opinion, this country never understand a situation until that situation returns several times.

Posted by izzumani | Report as abusive
 

Kenya is yet to go through real violence again, they are not yet united, development is very slow and embarrassing, and its strange that we are referred to as a good nation in Africa!!

Posted by Smart123 | Report as abusive
 

Post Your Comment

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/
  •