News / Africa

Analysts: Kenya's Gains Against Ethnic Violence Fragile

FILE - Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta, right, and a member of the Defense Council attend hearing at the International Criminal Court, The Hague, Netherlands, Sept. 21, 2011.
FILE - Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta, right, and a member of the Defense Council attend hearing at the International Criminal Court, The Hague, Netherlands, Sept. 21, 2011.
Each April, Rwanda and some other African counties pay homage to victims of the 1994 genocide. Those countries include Kenya, which has also had its share of political volatility and inter-tribal fighting, especially after the 2007 presidential election.

Kenyans have since made progress building credible government institutions, and the international community has pushed Nairobi’s leaders to implement political, security and judicial reforms in order to avoid a return to violence, but some analysts say those gains are fragile.

According to political analyst Adam Oloo, a lecturer at the University of Nairobi, Kenya must learn how to let institutions work without interference.

“I think that what Kenya needs to learn, basically, is that institutions should work for the good of the country," he said. "I think Kenya did very well by coming up with a new constitution.”

In 2010, more than 60 percent of voters approved the new document, which created a Supreme Court and set new procedures for appointing top government officials, police and judges, thereby replacing the old constitution that many saw as a root cause of institutional weaknesses that enabled violence.

Late in 2012, a survey showed more than 80 percent of Kenyans had confidence in the courts. This confidence prompted the losing presidential candidate in that year's election, former prime minister Raila Odinga, to challenge the result in the Supreme Court, rather than calling for mass protests.

John Githongo, head of Inuka, or Stand Up Kenya, says some politicians are fighting recent changes. He warns that recent gains for democracy and rule of law could be erased.

“The most important instrument for peace and harmonious life in Kenya is the constitution," he said. "One of the disturbing things we are seeing is very determined effort to roll back some of the victory that has been won as a result of the new constitution.”

Githongo says the constitution is the primary instrument for holding his countrymen together in a peaceful future.

President Uhuru Kenyatta and deputy William Ruto are facing charges at the International Criminal Court they helped to orchestrate the post-election violence, but the case against Kenyatta is on the verge of collapsing.

A former anti-corruption campaigner, Githongo notes the president and Ruto formed their alliance in part to fight the ICC, and suggests things may change if the Kenyatta case is dropped.

“One is forced to ask the question, if one of the main rationale that underlay this coalition is collapsing, then obviously there shall be realignment and one hopes those realignment will happen in peaceful manner.”

But Githongo doubts that will happen. He says the nature of Kenyan politics is that change is usually accompanied by some sort of violence.

You May Like

Turkey: No Ransom Paid for Release of Hostages Held by IS Militants

President Erdogan hails release of hostages as diplomatic success but declines to be drawn on whether their release freed Ankara's hand to take more active stance against insurgents More

Audio Sierra Leone Ends Ebola Lockdown

Health ministry says it has reached 75 percent of its target of visiting 1.5 million homes to locate infected, educate population about virus More

US Pivot to Asia Demands Delicate Balancing Act

As tumult in Middle East distracts Obama administration, efforts to shift American focus eastward appear threatened More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Towni
X
Deborah Block
September 21, 2014 2:12 PM
A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Town

A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Difficult Tactical Battle Ahead Against IS Militants in Syria

The U.S. president has ordered the military to intensify its fight against the Islamic State, including in Syria. But how does the military conduct air strikes in a country that is not a U.S. ally? VOA correspondent Carla Babb reports from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Alibaba Shares Soar in First Day of Trading

China's biggest online retailer hit the market Friday -- with its share price soaring on the New York Stock Exchange. The shares were priced at $68, but trading stalled at the opening, as sellers held onto their shares, waiting for buyers to bid up the price. More on the world's biggest initial public offering from VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York.
Video

Video Obama Goes to UN With Islamic State, Ebola on Agenda

President Obama goes to the United Nations General Assembly to rally nations to support a coalition against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria. He also will look for nations to back his plan to fight the Ebola virus in West Africa. As VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports, Obama’s efforts reflect new moves by the U.S. administration to take a leading role in addressing world crises.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid