Waki Report – Commission of Inquiry into Post-Election Violence (CIPEV)

Waki Report – Commission of Inquiry into Post-Election Violence (CIPEV)
Executive Summary
The mandate of the Commission of Inquiry into Post-Election Violence (CIPEV)
was to investigate the facts and circumstances surrounding the violence, the
conduct of state security agencies in their handling of it, and to make
recommendations concerning these and other matters.
The Report comprises 5 Parts. Part I of the Report is an Introduction which
discusses the historical context of the violence; Part II is a narration of the
violence province by province. Part III deals with four cross cutting issues:
sexual violence, internally displaced persons, the media and the nature and
impact of the violence. Part IV deals with acts and omissions of state security
agencies and impunity; and Part V contains recommendations made with a view
to the prevention of future reoccurrence of large scale violence; the investigation
of alleged perpetrators; and how to tackle the culture of impunity that has
become the hallmark of violence and other crimes in the country.
Sadly, violence has been a part of Kenya’s electoral processes since the
restoration of multi party politics in 1991. However, the violence that shook
Kenya after the 2007 general elections was unprecedented. It was by far the
most deadly and the most destructive violence ever experienced in Kenya. Also,
unlike previous cycles of election related violence, much of it followed, rather
than preceded elections. The 2007-2008 post-election violence was also more
widespread than in the past. It affected all but 2 provinces and was felt in both
urban and rural parts of the country. Previously violence around election periods
concentrated in a smaller number of districts mainly in Rift Valley, Western, and
Coast Provinces.
As regards the conduct of state security agencies, they failed institutionally to
anticipate, prepare for, and contain the violence. Often individual members of
the state security agencies were also guilty of acts of violence and gross
violations of the human rights of the citizens.
In some ways the post-election violence resembled the ethnic clashes of the
1990s and was but an episode in a trend of institutionalization of violence in
Kenya over the years. The fact that armed militias, most of whom developed as a
result of the 1990s ethnic clashes, were never de-mobilized led to the ease with
which political and business leaders reactivated them for the 2007 post-election
violence. Secondly, the increasing personalization of power around the
presidency continues to be a factor in facilitating election related violence.
The widespread belief that the presidency brings advantages for the President’s
ethnic group makes communities willing to exert violence to attain and keep
power. Inequalities and economic marginalization, often viewed in ethnogeographic
terms, were also very much at play in the post-election violence in
places like the slum areas of Nairobi.
One of the main findings of the Commission’s investigations is that the postelection
violence was spontaneous in some geographic areas and a result of
planning and organization in other areas, often with the involvement of
politicians and business leaders. Some areas witnessed a combination of the two
forms of violence, where what started as a spontaneous violent reaction to the
perceived rigging of elections later evolved into well organized and coordinated
attacks on members of ethnic groups associated with the incumbent president or
the PNU party. This happened where there was an expectation that violence was
inevitable whatever the results of the elections.
The report concludes that the post-election violence was more than a mere
juxtaposition of citizens-to-citizens opportunistic assaults. These were
systematic attacks on Kenyans based on their ethnicity and their political
leanings. Attackers organized along ethnic lines, assembled considerable
logistical means and traveled long distances to burn houses, maim, kill and
sexually assault their occupants because these were of particular ethnic groups
and political persuasion. Guilty by association was the guiding force behind
deadly “revenge” attacks, with victims being identified not for what they did but
for their ethnic association to other perpetrators. This free-for-all was made

possible by the lawlessness stemming from an apparent collapse of state
institutions and security forces.
In general, the police were overwhelmed by the massive numbers of the attackers
and the relatively effective coordination of the attacks. However, in most parts of
the country affected by the violence, failure on the part of the Kenya Police and
the Provincial Administration to act on intelligence and other early warning signs
contributed to the escalation of the violence.
The post-election violence is also the story of lack of preparedness of, and poor
coordination among, different state security agencies. While the National
Security Intelligence Service seemed to possess actionable intelligence on the
likelihood of violence in many parts of the country, it was not clear whether and
through which channel such intelligence was shared with operational security
agencies. The effectiveness of the Kenya Police Service and the Administration
Police was also negatively affected by the lack of clear policing operational
procedures and by political expediency’s adverse impact on their policing
The report recommends concrete measures to improve performance and
accountability of state security agencies and coordination within the state
security mechanism, including strengthening joint operational preparedness
arrangements; developing comprehensive operational review processes; merging
the two police agencies; and establishing an Independent Police Complaints
To break the cycle of impunity which is at the heart of the post-election violence,
the report recommends the creation of a special tribunal with the mandate to
prosecute crimes committed as a result of post-election violence. The tribunal
will have an international component in the form of the presence of non-Kenyans
on the senior investigations and prosecution staff.

CIPEV Website

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