IJR Policy Brief No 4 Taming the demon of Kenya's election violence: A strategy for the National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC)
By Alice Nderitu
Date of publication: December 2011
Only available electronically
In early 2008, over half a million Kenyans were displaced and a further 1,300 lost their lives during two months of intense violence that occurred after the announcement of presidential and parliamentary election results. The incumbent, Mwai Kibaki, was declared the winner, and disputes arising after this announcement led to fighting, killing and the destruction of property initiated by supporters of opposition leader, Raila Odinga, who felt that they had been denied a victory. The year 2008 became Kenya's annus horribilis – violence by Kenyans against Kenyans was broadcast to the world. But 2008 was also Kenya's annus mirabilis – the year that marked a new beginning shaped by the Kenya National Dialogue and Reconciliation (KNDR) framework. The KNDR arose out of the mediation process mandated by the African Union and was chaired by Kofi Annan as head of the Panel of Eminent African Personalities. The framework aims to prevent a recurrence of ethnic violence, and to manage the transition period between its adoption in 2008 and Kenya's next round of elections, planned for 2012.
This policy brief explains the purpose and mandate of the National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC), the only permanent body created by the KNDR, and delves into some of the causes underlying Kenya's election violence. The brief then strives to inform future strategies of the Kenyan government and the NCIC by outlining a series of recommendations that aim to prevent an escalation of ethnic conflict in Kenya in the lead up to the 2012 elections.