Peace Party of Kenya” (NAK) and Raila

Peace Building In Kenya- 2007 ElectionsIntroductionMuch has been said and written about the bitter and painful lessons learnt from thepostelection violence of 2007/2008 in Kenya. Nevertheless the lives and emotionsof hundreds of thousands of people are still determined by the traumatic events ofthe time. People frequently relive again and again the horrific events – with theaccompanying feelings of fear and terror – for their entire lives. The horrific self-destruction of a multiethnic state as it occurred here must never happen again. Thisshould be clear, both to ordinary people and to the politicians responsible.Tribalism is a destructive force which should be nipped in the bud. The diversity ofthese cultures are extremely important and should be protected and preserved sothat different groups grow together in one as a nation.In 2002 the election victory of Mwai Kibaki ended almost 40-years of single-partyrule. This activated an heartening – and hearteningly huge – wave of enthusiasm inthe Kenyan population and unquestionably in other places, too, because thisvictory was associated with hopes for democracy, which were soon dashed.Kibaki ?s “National Alliance Party of Kenya” (NAK) and Raila Odinga ?s `LiberalDemocratic Party ? (LDP) were to participate equally in the government. However,after the election Kibaki failed to keep his promise. Ethnicity continued to be thedecisive factor in the distribution of power. The reforms Kibaki promised prior tothe elections, such as to initiate a new constitution within the first 100 days of hisgovernment which would limit the powers of the hitherto omnipotent president andmake Kenya a democracy did not take place.There was no referendum on the new constitution until 2005. Then the governmentbill overlooked the contracts which had been made with the hostility. Under thenew constitution the president was to remain all-powerful. Consequently, Odingaboycotted the government and with leading politicians from other ethnic groupsfounded the “Orange Democratic Movement” (ODM). The referendum turned outto be a debacle for Kibaki ?s government. More than 58% rejected the newconstitution, a clear indication of the instability of the cross-tribe “NationalRainbow Coalition” (NARC), which had been constituted at the beginning of 2003from frequently relatively small parties and organisations. The failure of thereferendum was at the same time the beginning of theincreasing polarization in the run-up to the presidential elections in December2007. In Kibaki ?s government the influence of the Kikuyu, the president ?s tribe,was predominant. On account of the increasing dissatisfaction with Kibaki, moreand more ministers from other groups left the NARC-government and turned to theparty of Odinga, who was a member of the Luo tribe. The completion of the Kibakigovernment appeared to be unavoidable.With high expectations, the population went to cast their votes on 27th December2007. Hours before the polling stations opened, long queues of people wanting tovote had started to form. In the end more than 70% of the population took part. Thelasting feeling of joy in the population who, after the first projections felt thatOdinga had won, changed to one of dismay when the vote-counting, which wasbeing broadcasted on the television and on radio, was interrupted, and shortlyafterwards Kibaki was declared the winner. A storm of protest was unleashed.There was very soon talk of large-scale electoral fraud, which was confirmed bythe EU and Commonwealth election observers.Alarming pictures were transmitted round the world. Kenya was on the edge ofcomplete collapse, and civil war was being threatened to break out. The “Party ofNational Unity” (PNU), which was established by Kibaki shortly before theelections and Odinga ?s ODM were now the main protagonists. The arguments,which were reduced to questions of tribal association, showed up lines of conflictwhich could be manipulated and provided simple enemy stereotypes. Kenya, onceconsidered to be the model country in Africa ?s development, was now about tocollapse. In a sudden movement before the final vote-count Kibaki had himselfsworn in as re-elected president.In the course of the post-election violence more than 1,000 people lost theirlives and in a process of ethnic cleansing more than 600,000 were driven out oftheir homes (mainly in the slums) and housed in refugee camps, where most ofthem still live today, as they are afraid to return home.In Kenya there is little sign of a reconsideration for the post-election violence asthe government has done very minute to discuss and find solutions to the stillunsolved question of the distribution of land or a negotiation of the IDP. Inaddition there are problems with the coastal region. Here a Mombasa RepublicCouncil movement has formed, which wants independence from Kenya and thegap between “rich” and “poor” has not shrunk. High unemployment and a lack ofprospects, especially among young people, should all be seen as a warning that thenext presidential election, which has been postponed until 4th March 2013, willgive rise to renewed political unrest.CAUSES OF CONFLICT IN KENYAIn Kenya, there have been unresolved conflicts in since colonial time and thesituation has been getting worse overtime following the five years electoral cycle1991/1992/1997/1998, all which concluded to the Post-Election Violence (PEV) in2007-2008. These conflicts have been due to many reasons including: politicalrepression to multiparty participation, impunity, ethnicity and polarization, theerosion of exiting mechanisms for conflict management, long standing land andidentity disputes, administrative and boundary units related to resources andineffective mechanisms for political and social dialogueGenerally, issues of ownership, access and use of land in relation to violence,poverty and economic instability are experienced in many regions of Kenya. Thereare also concerns over irregular and illegal acquisition of individual and publicland, lack of title deeds and classification of land that originally belonged tocommunities. Kenya being an agriculturally dependent country, economic strengthcompletely lies in land and land cultivation. Consequently, land is the chief meansof generating income and accumulating wealth for majority of Kenyans.In most regions, the issues of land go back to pre-colonial days. During Kenya’scolonial period, the British occupiers deprived communities of legal ownership anduser rights to their customary lands leading to disenfranchisement anddispossession of communities.After the foreign rule arrangements enabled in taking over of land by thegovernment. However, such arrangements introduced skewed patterns of landdistribution in favor of a few elites leaving the majority landless. Land whichbelonged to communities was either sold to designated Trust-land or individualsimplying that such land was held in control by the government for thecommunities.Such land was politically distributed to reward politically correct individualsand/or communities. In Kenya politics of land has always been a method ofrewarding the loyalists and punishing the opponents. For instance, post-colonialgovernment leaders set up resettlement schemes for members of their communitiesin foreign ancestries, as well as in public and trust land regardless of the originalpurpose for such lands. These undercurrents have led ethnic conflicts as native landowners attempt to evict the foreign occupants during and after every election yearas was the case in 1992, 1997, 2002 and 200811.The issue of land had rendered some people in Kenya squatters on their ownancestral land. In regions like North Eastern the pastoral communities understoodTrust land to mean that such land is not owned by anyone. Therefore, they areunable to prevent anyone from intruding on their land. Thus, foreigners (Somalisand neighboring communities) graze their animals anywhere at will causingfrequent armed conflicts over grazing of the land by the animals. Moreover, lack ofTitle Deed means that the people cannot secure loans to advance themselves or toinvite investors. In addition, the rich bring private surveyors and demarcate land oftheir choice and acquire Title Deeds especially in townsat the expense of the poor locals.THE IMPACTS OF CONFLICTS IN KENYAThe main effects of the conflicts in Kenya include:• divided and a polarized society along ethnic and regional identities as opposed toshared national identities, common values and aspirations• exclusion and marginalization of certain sections of the society from stategovernance and economic development especially ethnic minorities, women andyouth• slow economic growth and opportunities for meaningful employment of largesections of the population especially the youth; proliferation of armed gangsand militiaANALYSISWHAT SHOULD BE DONE FOR GENUINE AND NATIONAL HEALING TO TAKEPLACE1. Involvement of all Kenyans in the processEfforts must be made towards forming partnerships with various stake-holders inthe peace-building and conflict resolution field in order to see how to worktogether towards bringing reconciliation and healing for Kenya. All Kenyans andeach individual must be involved and contribute actively in the process ofreconciliation and national healing. Kenyans should also take the opportunity andalso take advantage of the many options that exist at the national level whichinclude:, intiatives trying for a peaceful elections, the Youth Policy, the LandPolicy, the Gender and Development Policy, the Education Policy, the newconstitution and the Presence of the United Nations, among others. Kenyans arehighly spiritual and religious and this is a platform that if taken advantage of willbe important for national healing and reconciliation for this country.2. Aiming at positive outcomesAny reconciliation activities or efforts towards reconciliation and national healingshould aim at the following:• The promotion of restorative justice and social reconciliation for all Kenyans.• The promotion of natural justice to those victims who in one way or the otherwere accused and their cases not yet determined up to date.• The empowerment of victims to survive and in the end become victors being ableto contribute effectively towards their development, that of their families,communities and Kenya at large and being able to take their destiny and lives intheir hands.• To assistance of victims to forgive and be set free physically, psychologically,emotionally and spiritually, ultimately having the freedom and liberty to lead anormal life free of dependence on any entity in this country.• The use and maximization of the existing structures at the community leveltowardsreconciliation.• The encouragement of wrongdoers to join in the process, thus makingreconciliation in Kenya genuine, meaningful, long-lasting and sustainable.3. Attending to both physical and emotional needsFor true reconciliation and healing to take place in Kenya, the process must attendto the physical, psychological, familial, communal, interpersonal and spiritual andsocial elements of all the direct and indirect players and must engage all Kenyans:individuals, community groups from all sides of the conflict, the highest level ofnational leadership locally, communally, regionally, nationally or politically.4. The Kenyan leaders must take the leadThe leaders must emphasize trust, present their most important values, highlightingthe importance of reconciliation and showing their commitment towards it. Aboveall, it is essential to meet basic needs in education and health for children andprovide equal opportunities for women. Reconciliation and national healing cannottake place while such phenomena as poverty, social exclusion and crime persist arestill eroding the foundations of the society and hampering the process ofdevelopment. Whatever solution will be agreed upon by the political leaders, thereshould be development of the concrete social conditions necessary forreconciliation and national healing to become a reality on the ground so thatpeople, especially the poor who have suffered terrible atrocities and human-rightsviolations, like in the different slums and different rural areas can see that justice isbeing done5. Religious leaders must honestly evaluate their role in ethnic divisionsThe truth is many Kenyans have lost faith in their church leaders14, especiallyduring the political crises when they were considered to be partisan. Therefore, ifgenuine national healing is to take place, the religious leaders must honestly Re-evaluate their role and be ready to walk with Kenyans in the process ofreconciliation.6. People must respect the Rule of LawWithout the respect of Rule of Law, nothing will be done to the truth which hasbeen found and many people who are innocent will end up being prosecuted forcrimes or atrocities they did not commit and end up suffering, while innocent.7. Proper investigations must be done in each allegations and truth found based onvery specific factsThorough investigation should be done of each allegation; absolute truth must befoundand the authenticity of all facts verified before anyone conclusions are madeon any cases.8. Devotion of resources towards reconciliation and national healingAs a long term solution, significant resources (both human and financial) must bedevoted towards research and study on questions of conflict and ethnicity in allinstitutions all dealing with peace and conflict related issues. They should work incollaboration with the other government institutions, non-government institutionsand civil societies that focus on peace related issues9. The use of both traditional and modern mechanisms towards reconciliationand national healing.Traditional cultures are based on diversity. And we can use some of these modelsin coordination with religious leaders to directly and collective empower differentcommunities to seek reconciliation and healing.CONCLUSIONThe crisis in Kenya and its violent escalation did not come unexpected. There areseveral factors and lines of conflict that prepared the ground for the post-electioncrisis and show that the past has not gone by, but is very much alive in Kenya.Essential opportunities to sort these conflicts have been neglected since 2002,opportunities that could have helped Kenya sustaining its democratic path.First, unlike 2002 the two main political alliances, President Kibaki’s PNU andOdinga’s ODM, were ethnically mutually exclusive. While in 2002 the two mainpresidential candidates were Kikuyu – Kibaki and Kenyatta – and their alliancescomprised mainrepresentatives from all major ethnic groups (except for the Luo who were solidlyin Kibaki’s and Odinga’s NARC), in 2007 two clearly defined ethno-political blocsstood against each other. Within the logic of patronage politics in 2002 all themajor communities would see themselves as winners, regardless of who actuallywon. In 2007 with the high value placed on the presidency with its vast powers thebattle for the first position in the state was particularly fierce, as the losing sidewould be excluded from the pork barrels for the next five years.Secondly, the campaign was particularly bitterly fought as the opponents of 2007have been the allies of 2002. The fallout between Kibaki’s and Odinga’s wingsafter 2002 added a new chapter in the troubled history between the twocommunities.For the Luo it appeared as a repetition of history, as in the 1960s their leaders –Oginga Odinga and Tom Mboya – had ensured that the KANU presidencyremained reserved for Kenyatta until released from British detention, only tobecome after a transition period sidelined and in the case of Mboya evenassassinated. Despite the missing credit towards the Kikuyu elite Raila Odinga in2002 again extended trust: He abandoned his own presidential ambitions and threwthe weight of his party behind Kibaki only to find out soon after the election thatKibaki was not willing to honour his part of the deal – laid down in a MoU – toconclude the constitutional reform soon after the polls with creating the newposition of an executive Prime Minister, meant to go to Odinga. In lettingdeliberately this opportunity to mend fences with the Luo slip the Kikuyu elitearound Kibaki opened up and deepened the old wounds from the 1960s.Thirdly, for the first time in Kenya’s history the Luo and the Kalenjin entered intoa common election alliance. This united the two communities that have theseverest grievances with the Kikuyus. Kikuyu and Kalenjin had been partners fromthe mid 1960suntil the early 1990s. This has served as a binding frame to keep theever simmering anger among the Kalenjin over the land distribution of the 1960sunder control. The deal then sealed the integration of the Kalenjin into the rulingalliance under Kenyatta for abandoning their interest on access to land in the widerNakuru region and accepting a multiethnic set up in Uasin Gishu. Thecompensation with government positions, including senior ones, and the finalascendancy of Moi to the presidency as well as the patronage system of Kenyanpolitics helped to prevent any major eruption of dissatisfaction as long as thealliance remained somewhat intact. When the Kikuyu at the beginning of the newmulti-party era joined the opposition the necessity for the Kalenjin leaders toprotect the migrant communities, especially the Kikuyu, in the Rift Valley ceasedto exist. By driving out violently the so called non-indigenous communities fromthe Rift Valley they at the same time denied the opposition votes in KANU’sheartland, compensated the Kalenjin have-nots with the land and property of thoseevicted and helped to close the ranks within the Kalenjin and their Rift Valleyallies. The debate on a majimbo system, understood as the creation of ethnicallyhomogenous regions, served as the ideological justification of the evictions.Neither the Moi regime nor the Kibaki government addressed the land question inany substantial manner despite profound recommendations by differentgovernment commissions.Fourthly, the fact that none of the country’s high ranking culprits has ever beencharged for any of the crimes committed – ranging from political murder overmulti billion dollar scandals to instigating the ethnic cleansings of the 1990s –amount to a carte blanche and an invitation to future offences, an invitation thatwas before and after the elections 2007 readily taken up by a number of politicalleaders from both sides, particularly among the Kalenjin of ODM. Kibaki neverlived up to the challenge to firmly re-establish the rule of law, a chance that waspossibly greatest immediately after he assumed office. Then the parameter forgovernance could have newly been determined and the acceptance as well as thereadiness of the public and stakeholders was possibly greatest. This deliberatelapse together with the not-honouring of the MoU with Odinga was probablyKibaki’s major failure and helped to pave the way for the post-election violence.Fifthly, the uneven development and the uneven distribution of governmentservices and resources across the country’s regions resulted in cumulated anger andfrustration among most of the ethnic groups and strong reservations towards theKikuyu, the two presidents of which were seen as being majorly responsible forthis. The Bomas constitutional draft addressed these grievances by suggesting adevolved form of government. However, ODM’s interlacing of the devolutionapproach with the majimbo debate from the 1990s pre-empted a more rationaldebate on the serious issue and prepared ideologically the ground for the post-election violence in the Rift Valley. For the sake of power ODM was willing toallow severe human rights violations and the destabilizing of the country while theKibaki government did not act on intelligence information on the likelihood ofpostelection violence outbreaks.Kenya was rocked by post-election violence in 2007/08. To avoid similardisasters in the future, the Kenya National Dialogue and Reconciliation(KNDR) process was started. One result was that there is a need for adeliberate normative and attitudinal process of constructing the nation. Civilsociety organisations have an important role to play.The overall goal of the KNDR was to achieve peace, stability and justice in Kenyaand to safeguard the rule of law and respect for human rights of all castes. Flawedelections were the immediate cause of the violence that started in December 2007,but the underlying reasons were long term political, social and economic issues,including• constitutional and institutional reforms,• land reform,• youth unemployment and• regional imbalances.Because of such challenges, the healing process has not been easy. The task isenormous and cannot be left in the domain of statutory bodies, especially now thatthe country is preparing for the next general elections in March next year. Indeed,political temperatures are rising fast. Politicians are trying to take advantage ofethnic and social divides for campaign purposes and aim at those societies thathave ben deeply damaged. Such activities have shifted focus from implementingreforms, so the window for positive change is closing.This constitution was accepted in a national referendum two years ago and isdesigned to prevent political turmoil in the future. The new laws would matterbecause they are meant to address historical injustices. For instance, they serve thegoal of political devolution, divesting resources from the Centre.Regional disparities were an important reason for the troubles almost five yearsago.

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