Building a Standing National Capacity for Conflict Prevention and Resolution in Kenya

Most conflicts today arise from intra-state rather than interstate tensions. Many developing countries are unable to manage intra-state conflicts effectively, mainly because of capacity constraints in their governance and oversight institutions, political manipulation and executive interference. The result is that public confidence in the institutions remains weak and there is greater resort to private and group justice. National development is thus deeply affected. In restoring public confidence in the state’s ability to manage inter-group and inter-community conflicts, many governments are establishing and institutionalising standing national capacities for conflict prevention and resolution as extensions of their national governance framework. This article is a critical review of the efforts to establish such capacities in Kenya.

When Peacebuilding Contradicts Statebuilding: Notes from the Arid Lands of Kenya

Local peace initiatives have been introduced in post-conflict settings in aid of statebuilding processes. However, contradictions in such efforts that undermine the state become apparent in a development context when government institutions are, generally, functioning. Peacebuilding initiatives in the arid lands of Kenya are a good example of this. While they have proved successful in resolving conflicts at the local level, they challenge the state structure in three ways. First, some of their features run counter to the official laws of Kenya and jeopardize the separation of powers. Second, they pose a dilemma, since their success and legitimacy are based on grassroots leadership and local concepts of justice. Both can be at odds with democratic decision-making, inclusiveness and gender equity. Third, they provide yet another tool for abuse by politicians and other local leaders. This reveals a dilemma: aspects of peacebuilding can actually undermine a statebuilding endeavour.

Understanding Civil War : Evidence and Analysis, Volume 1. Africa

The two volumes of Understanding Civil War build upon the World Bank’s prior research on conflict and violence, particularly on the work of Paul Collier and Anke Hoeffler, whose model of civil war onset has sparked much discussion on the relationship between conflict and development in what came to be known as the “greed” versus “grievance” debate. The authors systematically apply the Collier-Hoeffler model to 15 countries in 6 different regions of the world, using a comparative case study methodology to revise and expand upon economic models of civil war. (The countries selected are Burundi, Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, Nigeria, Kenya, Mozambique, Sudan, Algeria, Mali, Senegal, Indonesia, Lebanon, Russian Federation, Colombia, Northern Ireland, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Macedonia, and the Caucasus.) The book concludes that the “greed” versus “grievance” debate should be abandoned for a more complex model that considers greed and grievance as inextricably fused motives for civil war.

Understanding Civil War : Evidence and Analysis, Volume 2. Europe, Central Asia, and Other Regions

The two volumes of Understanding Civil War build upon the World Bank’s prior research on conflict and violence, particularly on the work of Paul Collier and Anke Hoeffler, whose model of civil war onset has sparked much discussion on the relationship between conflict and development in what came to be known as the “greed” versus “grievance” debate. The authors systematically apply the Collier-Hoeffler model to 15 countries in 6 different regions of the world, using a comparative case study methodology to revise and expand upon economic models of civil war. (The countries selected are Burundi, Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, Nigeria, Kenya, Mozambique, Sudan, Algeria, Mali, Senegal, Indonesia, Lebanon, Russian Federation, Colombia, Northern Ireland, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Macedonia, and the Caucasus.) The book concludes that the “greed” versus “grievance” debate should be abandoned for a more complex model that considers greed and grievance as inextricably fused motives for civil war.

Decolonization or National Liberation: Debating the End of British Colonial Rule in Africa

When discussing the end of British colonial rule in Africa, many historians have highlighted the role of postwar international relations and the impact of domestic imperial politics on decolonization and have failed to recognize the role of African nationalists. This article argues that such a viewpoint is flawed because it conceives of colonial policy makers as isolated and autonomous entities impervious to changes taking place in the colonies. The national liberation movements in Ghana, Central Africa, Kenya, and other regions of East Africa are explored in this article to illustrate the central role that colonial subjects played in the British decolonization of Africa. While dominant scholarship on the failures of the post-colonial state has made studies of decolonization and African nationalism less fashionable, it is becoming increasingly clear that our understanding of the nature and mechanics of the crises that beset the continent requires taking fresh stock of the record of European colonial rule in Africa. In this regard, the study of colonialism and decolonization in continues to be of critical relevance.

Options for Transitional Justice in Kenya: Autonomy and the Challenge of External Prescriptions

While there is broad agreement among key partners in Kenya’s government of national unity (GNU) on the need to implement transitional justice measures, the lack of a coherent approach by the government has to date hampered the debate in significant ways and will determine the future efficacy of anymechanism adopted. Key areas of concern include the efforts by political elites to capture the debate; the silencing of important voices; a failure to identify and define all key issues to be addressed by any transitional justice mechanisms employed; and a failure to fully understand the role of external institutions, such as the International Criminal Court (ICC). The article reviews the evolving transitional justice debate in Kenya and assesses the accountability options available, noting in particular the role of international norms and institutions in influencing the feasibility of local options. In this regard, the article interrogates key questions related to autonomy, including the question of whose justice and which mechanisms will be taken forward in the Kenyan context and how this will be determined.

Kenya and the Rule of Law: The Perspective of Two Volunteers

Reaction to Kenya’s 2007 national elections was explosive. Riots claimed at least 1000 lives, and upwards of 300,000 people were displaced from their homes. The public lacked faith in both the ballot counting and in the impartiality of dispute resolution by the judiciary. On both counts, public cynicism was justified. No democracy can flourish without the rule of law. In the absence of faith in the rule of law to replace police state oppression, government stability is evanescent. Rule of law is a habit; it grows only through steady erosion of past practices and constant reminders to officials that the times have changed. Public faith in the rule of law cannot be demanded-it must be earned. Kenya emerged from dictatorial control in 2002. The process of gaining public faith in the rule of law is a long one, and Kenya is in the middle of it…Our work would include training the younger lawyers in the firm in strategy, case selection, legal research, brief writing, and trial tactics. In addition, we would work with an affiliated organization, the International Centre for Constitutional Research and Governance (ICCRG), a body created as an educational resource on matters of constitutionalism, democracy, and the rule of law for those in the legal, political, and public realms. We were to play a small role in helping to foster the rule of law in Kenya, and met with both success and failures in that task. The true import of these successes and failures can only be understood, however, in the context of the legal and political landscape in which we were operating.

Unspeakable Truths: Transitional Justice and the Challenge of Truth Commissions

In a sweeping review of forty truth commissions, Priscilla Hayner delivers a definitive exploration of the global experience in official truth-seeking after widespread atrocities. When Unspeakable Truths was first published in 2001, it quickly became a classic, helping to define the field of truth commissions and the broader arena of transitional justice. This second edition is fully updated and expanded, covering twenty new commissions formed in the last ten years, analyzing new trends, and offering detailed charts that assess the impact of truth commissions and provide comparative information not previously available. Placing the increasing number of truth commissions within the broader expansion in transitional justice, Unspeakable Truths surveys key developments and new thinking in reparations, international justice, healing from trauma, and other areas. The book challenges many widely-held assumptions, based on hundreds of interviews and a sweeping review of the literature. This book will help to define how these issues are addressed in the future.

When Peacebuilding Contradicts Statebuilding: Notes from the Arid Lands of Kenya

Local peace initiatives have been introduced in post-conflict settings in aid of statebuilding processes. However, contradictions in such efforts that undermine the state become apparent in a development context when government institutions are, generally, functioning. Peacebuilding initiatives in the arid lands of Kenya are a good example of this. While they have proved successful in resolving conflicts at the local level, they challenge the state structure in three ways. First, some of their features run counter to the official laws of Kenya and jeopardize the separation of powers. Second, they pose a dilemma, since their success and legitimacy are based on grassroots leadership and local concepts of justice. Both can be at odds with democratic decision-making, inclusiveness and gender equity. Third, they provide yet another tool for abuse by politicians and other local leaders. This reveals a dilemma: aspects of peacebuilding can actually undermine a statebuilding endeavour.

East Africa and the Horn: Confronting Challenges to Good Governance

Both the obstacles to governance and the opportunities for democratization confronted in East Africa-with its geostrategic importance, porous borders, governments heavily dependent on foreign aid, and some of Africa’s longest-running conflicts-provide valuable insights into how good governance policies can be implemented effectively throughout the developing world. This book explores these regional constraints and opportunities, focusing on issues of civil society, the ubiquitous trade in small arms and light weapons, large numbers of refugees, tensions around national identity and the legacy of US policy.