Debate – Kenya’s politics of violence and accountability
Introduction-The politics of violence and accountability in Kenya – Lydiah Kemunto Bosire
The handover of the names of the suspects behind Kenya’s post-elections violence to the International Criminal Court (ICC) opens an uncertain chapter in the country’s history of political violence. This development has generated a vibrant debate among Kenyans: What should accountable politics look like? What is …
The Normalisation of Violence – Daniel Branch
Writing more than twenty years ago about Idi Amin’s Uganda, Ali Mazrui observed that
Everyone was talking about the tyrant. I suggested that more people had died in the second half of the Amin years as a result of anarchy than as a result of tyranny. Many of the killings were not…
DIY Violence is Corrosive of Nationhood – Daniel Waweru
It is not often that participants in ethnic cleansing confess to it openly, but William ole Ntimama has managed it twice: in a 1996 interview, and more recently. The brazenness of the impunity is revolting: it is natural to want accountability and reform, and equally natural to…
Kenya Post-2008: The calm before a storm? – Gabrielle Lynch
Nineteen months have passed since Kenya’s contested 2007 election, when the rapid re-inauguration of President Mwai Kibaki heralded an outburst of post-election violence – characterised by targeted attacks on ethnic “˜others’, an overzealous state security response, and retaliatory attacks on “˜aggressor’ communities – which left…
The Spectre of Impunity and the Politics of the Special Tribunal in Kenya – Tim Murithi
On 9 July 2009, Kofi Annan the former chief mediator in the aftermath of Kenya’s post-electoral violence, transferred an undisclosed list of senior politicians to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Luis Moreno-Ocampo. These politicians are alleged to have committed crimes…
Watu Wazima: A gender analysis of forced male circumcisions during Kenya’s post-election violence. – Wanjiru Kamau-Rutenberg
Stories of men being forcibly circumcised and even castrated peppered news accounts of the madness that overtook Kenya in the aftermath of the December 2007 elections. According to the Waki commission that investigated the Post Election Violence (PEV),…
Kenya: Our Possible Futures; Our Choices – Sisule Musungu
We knew or should have known that it was coming. But somehow we thought or believed, as the most corrupt country in the region, that we could bribe our way out of catastrophe. That was the 2007 post-election violence in Kenya. Then, as now, we knew what our…
Truth, Justice, Reconciliation, and… land Tenure Reform? – Chris Huggins
The Kenyan Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission (TJRC) is mandated to enquire into human rights violations, including community displacements, settlements, evictions, historical land injustices, and the illegal or irregular acquisition of land, especially as these relate to conflict or violence. access to land is often cited as one of the key structural causes of violence in Kenya.
Accountability Debate in Kenya Unforlds in a Near Policy vacuum and Ethnic Tension – Godfray M. Musila
There seems to be consensus around the need to deal with injustices– gross human rights violations, economic crimes and abuse of power –perpetrated in Kenya over the last 35 years. However, Kenya lacks a coherent policy on the broader question of transitional justice: which institutions should be used (Special Tribunal for Kenya (1), Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission(2) [TJRC] or criminal courts), …
Incremental Judicial Reforms in Kenya – Charles A. Khamala
Judges deal in fear, pain and death. However exercised, judicial power has a tremendous impact on the socio-economic, political and cultural systems of a nation. Kenyan masses remain alienated not merely by the foreign language and condescending demeanor of courtrooms but also the centralization of justice. Consequently, we must ask: is the quality of justice determined by the performance of an incumbent occupant of a judicial position? If so, who should appoint judges? What is to be done when the actions of a politically partisan Chief Justice cow an entire judiciary to bow to executive whims?
Special Tribunal Enactment: Why cabinet, MPS, are Misleading Kenyans – N. Wainaina and P. Chepneg’etich
Kenyans are very suspicious of the rare unity between the Cabinet and the Parliament as they jointly dismiss calls for the prosecution of the perpetrators of post-election violence atrocities. This unscrupulous behaviour is not coincidental, but a well crafted strategy: the Cabinet and Parliament are distorting facts on the requirements for a local tribunal, in order to escape accountability.
Saving International Justice in Africa – Chidi Odinkalu
At the conclusion of its Summit in Sirte, Libya, on July 1, 2009, the Assembly of Heads of State and Governments of the African Union (AU) decided that “AU Member States shall not cooperate … in the arrest and surrender of President Omar El Bashir of The Sudan.” In a press release issued two weeks later, on July 14, the organisation explained that this decision “bears testimony to the glaring reality that the situation in Darfur is too serious and complex an issue to be resolved without recourse to an harmonised approach to justice and peace, neither of which should be pursued at the expense of the other.”
This debate is organized by Oxford Transitional Justice Research (OTJR) in collaboration with Moi University (Eldoret) and Pambazuka News. A selection of essays based on this debate will be published in an edited volume by Fahamu Books. For PDF documents of the debate please visit OTJR.