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

Hong Kong Democracy Calls Spread to Macau

Macau and Hong Kong are China’s two 'special administrative regions' which gives them a measure of autonomy More

After Nearly 2 Years, Pistorius Remains Elusive

Reporter Anita Powell reflects on her experience covering the Olympic athlete's murder trial More

Kenyan Coastal Town Struggles With Deadly June Attacks

Three months after al-Shabab militants allegedly attacked their town, some Mpeketoni residents are still bitter, question who was really behind the assaults 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.
Obama to Ramp Up Anti-Ebola Efforts in Africai
X
Luis Ramirez
September 15, 2014 11:01 PM
President Barack Obama on Tuesday will unveil his plan to ramp up efforts against the spread of the Ebola virus in Africa. VOA White House Correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Obama to Ramp Up Anti-Ebola Efforts in Africa

President Barack Obama on Tuesday will unveil his plan to ramp up efforts against the spread of the Ebola virus in Africa. VOA White House Correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.
Video

Video Washington DC Mural Artists Help Beautify City

Like many cities, Washington has a graffiti problem. Buildings and homes, especially in low-income neighborhoods, are often targets of illegal artwork. But as we hear from VOA’s Julie Taboh, officials in the nation's capital have come up with an innovative program that uses the talents of local artists to beautify the city.
Video

Video US Muslim Leaders Condemn Islamic State

Leaders of America's Muslim community are condemning the violent extremism of the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. Muslim leaders say militants are exploiting their faith in a failed effort to justify violent extremism. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Americans' Reaction Mixed on Obama Strategy for Islamic State Militants

President Barack Obama’s televised speech on how the United States plans to “degrade and destroy” the group known as the Islamic State reached a prime-time audience of millions. And it came as Americans appear more willing to embrace a bolder, tougher approach to foreign policy. VOA producer Katherine Gypson and reporter Jeff Seldin have this report from Washington.
Video

Video Authorities Allege LA Fashion Industry-Cartel Ties

U.S. officials say they have broken up crime rings that funneled tens of millions of dollars from Mexican drug cartels through fashion businesses in Los Angeles. Mike O'Sullivan reports that authorities announced nine arrests, as 1,000 law enforcement agents fanned out through the city on Wednesday.
Video

Video Bedouin Woman Runs Successful Business in Palestinian City

A Bedouin woman is breaking social taboos by running a successful vacation resort in the Palestinian town of Jericho. Bedouins are a sub-group of Arabs known for their semi-nomadic lifestyle. Zlatica Hoke says the resort in the West Bank's Jordan Valley is a model of success for women in the region.


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