Civil Society Responses to the Kenyan Crisis

Special Brief on Civil Society Responses to the Kenyan Crisis from the Kenya Human Rights Institute.

Kenya has rapidly descended into a state of near anarchy following the announcement of flawed presidential election results at the end of the December 27, 2007 General Election. The violence flared up following the December 30th declaration by the Electoral Commission of Kenya (ECK) that Mwai Kibaki, the Party of National Unity (PNU) presidential candidate, had won the presidential election amidst protests of irregularities by the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) of Raila Odinga. Reports by local and international election observation groups, human rights groups, the media and statements by the ECK itself suggest that the presidential election was fatally flawed. With Kenya teetering on the brink of chaos, the search for both domestic and international solutions to the crisis continues. However, armed groups as well as the police continue to perpetrate serious acts of violence and human rights violations.

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IMLU – Forensic investigations into post-election violence related deaths

Forensic investigations into post-election violence related deaths

Following the delayed and disputed release of the general elections results of 27th December 2007 there was wide speculation of rigging. This led to nationwide protests and an outbreak of violence seemingly driven by ethnicity and perceived political affiliation. This lawlessness provided an environment conducive to torture and gross human rights violations. The violence took the form of killings, rape, and arson acts, forceful evictions and internal displacement. It is estimated that over 1,000 people have been killed, over 400,000 internally displaced/ forcefully evicted, women and girls raped and property worth millions destroyed.

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National Civil Society Congress – Press release

Press release – National Civil Society Congress

20th February, 2008

This is a constitutional moment! While some parties want to negotiate the future of Kenya on a flawed foundation of the current constitution, the National Civil Society congress (the Congress) wants a new constitution to be the basis of negotiating the future.

The congress therefore recommends a mediation package in this order:

1. The enactment of an Interim constitution to fundamentally transform Kenya’s governance; The congress has proceeded to prepare a progressive draft building on all the constitutional drafts that have been produced so far in the country and will be putting it to public discussion and scrutiny shortly.
2. The establishment of a transitional government that oversees the reconstruction of the country and carrying out transitional justice process;
3. The unveiling and implementation of a Marshall-‘Anan’ Plan that will ensure that the country is rebuilt and put on a path to growth, development and prosperity; and
4. A Truth, Justice and Restitution Commission

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Armed And Dangerous – International Crisis Group (ICG)

Armed And Dangerous

UN Integrated Regional Information Networks
22 February 2008
Posted to the web 22 February 2008
Kenya is at risk of plunging into a new wave of violence, despite progress in negotiations to end a political crisis, because several armed groups are mobilising on all sides of the country’s ethno-political divisions, according to the International Crisis Group (ICG) think-tank.

Firearms are much less widely available in Kenya than in neighbouring countries. In the context of this article, “armed groups” include those using machetes, spears, poison arrows and clubs.

Almost two months into the crisis, low-level insecurity persists in some areas and the threat of further unrest is hampering the delivery of essential assistance to displaced people and others affected by the crisis. UN personnel, for example, must observe stringent precautions, including the use of armed police escorts, when travelling in the Rift Valley Province.

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Canada – Ryerson Students Rally


For Immediate Release
Friday February 22nd 2008

Student Group Board Set on Fire, Anti-racist Material Destroyed

Last week a bulletin board belonging to Ryerson’s East African Students group was set on fire. Material put ablaze included a series of campaigns under the slogans of “United to End Racism,” “Education not Occupation,” “No Justice No Peace,” “Boycott Israeli Apartheid,” and “De-Colonize Ryerson.” Petitions on the board calling for university-based ESL provisions and equitable access to refugee students were also put to flames. Toronto Police have launched an investigation.

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Churches call for fresh poll – Inter-Religious Forum

Churches call for fresh poll

Kenyan religious leaders have called for a fresh general election as the only way out of the current political crisis. The leaders who comprised Christians, Muslims and Hindus also proposed the resignation of the Electoral Commission of Kenya (ECK) to pave way for its reconstitution. Speaking under the auspices of the Inter-Religious Forum at the Ufungamano House in Nairobi, the leaders reiterated their proposal to President Kibaki that wide consultations be made within the political parties regarding appointment of ECK commissioners to ensure the new body is credible.

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Wangari Maathai – Kenya can’t solve it alone

Kenya can’t solve it alone

By Wangari Maathai*

The post-election crisis in Kenya remains unresolved. The damage being done to the country’s economy is severe: tourism, horticulture, and other industries that depend on trade beyond the Kenyan border are reeling. Thousands of livelihoods, along with investments throughout the region, are threatened and collapsing. As the situation in Kenya escalated – with murders, rapes, burning of property, looting, and the displacement of thousands of people throughout the country – the international community was urged to help. Many countries responded, providing essential humanitarian assistance and logistical support. For this, I and many other Kenyans are very grateful.

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