Items About Areas That Could Break Out Into
2008: A year ago Kenya was involved in a tumultuous election, with daily
reports of ethnic violence. The election, held at the end of December 2007,
produced a small scale civil war, with at least 1,300 killed and 300,000 refugees.
Most of the displaced were members of a tribe living in an area where another
tribe was the dominant ethnic group. It was a sad story – one tribe's members
flee to a "home tribal area," in the process passing members of another tribe
fleeing from that region.
done a fairly good job of working through the aftermath of the disputed
election and the ethnic violence. Outside mediation (provided by former UN
Secretary General Kofi Annan) proved to be useful. Annan brought the two key rival leaders, President Mwai Kibaki
(who claimed he won the election) and opposition leader Raila Odinga (who
claimed Kibaki won by fraud) to the negotiation table. During the negotiations,
cooler heads (many in the business community) pointed out that the violence was
damaging Kenya's reputation and would harm the economy – ultimately
produced a power-sharing agreement which led to the Grand Coalition Government
(national unity government). The Grand Coalition has brought a degree of
stability, but Kenya is still struggling with the "ethnic politicization" –
code phrase for parties organized on ethnic lines. Corruption still plagues the
country, and in an odd way that gives most Kenyans a common interest. Anger at
corrupt elites is common complaint from Kenyans of all tribes.
Commission of Inquiry into Post-Election Violence (CIPEV), which filed a report
in mid-October, noted the anger and suspicion of Kenyans. The CIPEV demanded
that perpetrators of violence be prosecuted. It also derided systemic
institutional failures in Kenya's "internal security mechanisms." The CIPEV
recommended that Kenya improve its police forces (both regular police and
Administration Police) and "stream-line" intelligence gathering. The
Administration Police are the government national police force and operates as
an internal security force. It has a small Rapid Deployment Unit.
2008: At least 20 people died in inter-clan fighting between the Murule and
Garre clans in the Mandera region (northeast Kenya). The fighting erupted in late October, and a subsequent government security operation in
the area ended up injuring at least 200 civilians. (NOTE: A security operation usually indicates an
operation by paramilitary police units.) The government denied that "hundreds"
of civilians had been injured, and claimed that it had confiscated nearly 50
2008: A Somali Islamist group claimed that it would start a "jihadi war inside
Kenya" if the government decides to help train Somali military forces loyal to
the transitional federal government. The Somali Islamists see Kenya as an ally
of Ethiopia – which in fact it is.