HRW – Ballot to Bullets – Organized Political Violence and Kenya’s Crisis of Governance


The scale and speed of the violence that engulfed Kenya following the controversial presidential election of December 27, 2007 shocked both Kenyans and the world at large. Two months of bloodshed left over 1,000 dead and up to 500,000 internally displaced persons in a country viewed as a bastion of economic and political stability in a volatile region.

The ethnic divisions laid bare in the aftermath of the elections have roots that run much deeper than the presidential poll. No Kenyan government has yet made a good-faith effort to address long simmering grievances over land that have persisted since independence. High-ranking politicians who have been consistently implicated in organizing political violence since the 1990s have never been brought to book and continue to operate with impunity. Widespread failures of governance are at the core of the explosive anger exposed in the wake of the election fraud.

The Kenya National Dialogue and Reconciliation between the political parties provides Kenya’s leaders with a historic opportunity to step back from the brink and to reform and establish institutions that can help build long-term stability. The establishment of a Commission of Inquiry on political violence; an Independent Review Committee on the elections; a Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission; and the agreement on the general parameters for a constitutional review process – all agreed in such a short time frame – represent a serious and positive response to the crisis.

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Kenya Short Rains Assessment Report 2008

Date: 11 Mar 2008

Kenya Short Rains Assessment Report 2008



The Short Rains Assessment 2008 was conducted in February 2008 to determine the impact of the short rains season on the food security situation of arid and semi arid districts. Assessments were also conducted in the conflict-affected areas to evaluate the impacts of the post election violence on food security in the most affected areas. Thirty one representative districts falling into seven broad livelihood clusters were assessed including:

1. Northern Pastoral (Turkana, Moyale, Marsabit and Samburu Districts);
2. Eastern Pastoral (Mandera, Wajir, Garissa, Isiolo and Tana River Districts);
3. Agro-Pastoral (Baringo, West Pokot, Narok, Kajiado and Laikipia Districts);
4. Coastal Marginal Agricultural (Taita Taveta, Malindi, Kilifi and Kwale Districts);
5. Eastern Marginal Agricultural (Tharaka, Mbeere, Machakos, Mwingi, and Kitui Districts);
6. North Rift and Western Mixed Farming (Nakuru, Uasin Gishu, Trans Nzoia, Kericho, Lugari, Kakamega, and Bungoma).
7. South Rift (Nakuru, Nakuru North, Naivasha and Molo)
8. Central Mixed Farming (Nyandarua).

Clusters six and seven represented the conflict-affected areas that are generally food secure during normal times. The assessment teams were composed of government and non-government experts from both food and non-food sectors since the field of food security analysis is broad and multi-sectoral.

Key Findings

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