On 30th December 2007, following the announcement of the presidential election results
in Kenya; violence broke out in several places across the country amidst claims that the
electoral commission of Kenya (ECK) had rigged the presidential election. Sporadic
eruptions continued for many weeks, bringing death and destmction to thousands of
Kenyans. The general purpose of the study was to examine the contribution of the postelection violence to the growth of electoral democracy in Kenya and relate it to the rest of
The objective of the study is to establish how the violence affected the growth of
electoral democracy in Kenya, examine the constitutional and legal framework and
identifies any weaknesses or inconsistencies in the electoral process, establish
reformative areas of the electoral system to enhance democratic elections and to establish
measures to eradicate impunity and promote electoral democracy in Kenya.
In confonnity with scope of the study, the report examines the causes of post-election
crisis in Kenya from independence to date and presents its findings and
The study establishes that violence has been a recurring feature in Kenyan elections since
independence and that violence had previously been confined within tribal lines. The
2008 post-election violence in Kenya intimidated the right to vote, and be voted in any
political office and the concept of free and fair elections was greatly impaired. The study
also found out that majority of the electorate think that even if they participate in
democratic elections, the outcome will be compromised as it was in the 2007 elections
thus voter apathy is prevalent among the people especially those in the violence-stricken
The study recommends that since democracy is a practice, there is a need to implement
the findings and recommendations addressed in the Commission of Inquiry into Post
Election Violence in Kenya (CIPEV) and the Independent Review Commission (IREC).
debated political transition in Kenya and succeeded in substituting British colonial rule
with elected African leaders.
In pre-colonial times, there was no centralized political system resembling states in the
modem sense. Communities comprised small units' bound together by kinship and other
fonns of affinity. They planned and pursued common activities guided by well
established norms and customs. The clan was the central unit in most of these societies
and was repository of community management and of conflict management and of
conflict prevention and resolution. Leadership was based either on age and gender, with
male elders forming local councils, or on hereditary, such as the Laibon system of the
Maasai community. 1
From the time the ban on African political parties was lifted in 1960, Kenya has seesawed between single -patiysim and multi-patiysim until the ttiumph- so - far of de jure
multi-patiysim in 1991.
At the time of the elections in 2007, Kenya had undergone three other general elections
since the restoration of multi party democracy in 1991. In addition to this, in 2005, Kenya
saw a successful constitutional referendum that left the intemational community hailing
Kenya as a country where electoral democracy had taken root and had been successfully
established. The country became an African example where a president-backed draft
constitution was defeated at the referendum by an opposition backed faction. As a result,
the Electoral Commission of Kenya (ECK) as it then was declared the most effective
electoral body in Sub-Saharan Africa.
After the violence that rocked the countty on 30th December, 2007, following the
atmouncement of the presidential election results an African Union-sponsored Panel of
Eminent Personalities led by former United Nations Secretmy General Koffi Annan
brokered a settlement which heralded a government of national unity between the main
1 Kenya Election 1997: Free and Fair? International Commission of Jurists (Kenya section), November
Political parties and a common commitment to urgent constitutional reform. The
settlement included the appointment of two commissions, one to examine the violence
and the other to examine the December 2007 Kenyan elections from various perspectives.
These two commissions were: The Commission of Inquiry into Post-election Violence2
(CIPEV) chaired by Justice Philip Waki and the Independent Review Commission3
(IREC) chaired by Judge Johann Kriegler, a retired South African Judge.
CIPEV, famously known as the Waki Commission was mandated4 to investigate the
post-election violence in Kenya and the surrounding events in the country as pati of
efforts aimed at avetiing and preventing further wide scale conflicts in the country. The
Commission was asked to establish the facts about how such grievous violence was
conceived, planned and executed, to consider the failure to enforce existing mechanisms
to prevent the violence and, recommend measures aimed at redressing the consequences
of the violence and at preventing possible recurrence of such violence.
The Commission was asked specifically to investigate the events after the introduction of
multi party democracy in the country and the subsequent tribal clashes that preceded the
1992 and 1997 general elections and the events after the 2005 referendum. It was also
directed to investigate the role, before, during and after the violence, of the Kenyan
goverrnnent and its agencies, individual persons and non-goverrnnental organizations.
The commission was also mandated to investigate what politicians and the govemment
individually or collectively could have done to aveti the violence.
The IREC, famously !mown as the Kriegler Commission, on the other hand was
mandated to present, m confmmity with the terms and reference,5 its findings and
recommendations, based on its analysis of the legal framework for the conduct of
2 The Kenya Gazette, Vol. CX-No. 41, Gazette Notice No. 4473, Nairobi, 23'' May, 2008
3 The Kenya Gazette, Vol. CX-No.23, Gazette Notice No.1982, Nairobi, 14"' March, 2008
"The Kenya Gazette, Vol. CX-No 41, Gazette Notice No. 4474, Nairobi, 23'' May, 2008
5 The Kenya Gazette, Vol. CX-No 23, Gazette Notice No. 1983, Nairobi, 14'" March, 2008
elections in Kenya, the structure, composition and management system of the Electoral
commission of Kenya and 1ts organization and conduct of the 2007 electoral operations.
Therefore looking at the violence that followed the 2007 presidential elections, we can
arrive at a conclusion that such violence could have been averted if only measures had
been taken to implement the legal framework on elections and punish previous
perpetrators of this violence. It is possible to identify the key steps that led from the late
pre-multiparty period to the violence a decade and a half later. There was nothing
inexorable about this process. At its heart was the deliberate choice of successive elites to
deepen the cleavages the country's main ethnic-backed political groups to dehumanize
the others out of power, and to legitimize the use of violence to settle electoral disputes.
In the process a culture of impunity gradually became entrenched.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
In the recent past electoral democracy in Africa has been hit hard by problems associated
with transition of political power. Following the aftennath of the 2007 presidential
elections in Kenya huge concern was raised as to the viability of electoral institutions in
the country. The post election crisis that followed baffled a number of researchers and
humanity as a whole. Close to two thousand innocent people were barbarously butchered,
over three hundred thousand others rendered homeless, countless women were raped and
prope1iy worth millions was looted and destroyed.
These acts were willingly and publicly perpetrated by other Kenyans shming the same
country, the same .language and the same history with their victims. Faced by this reality,
one may wonder how this could happen in the 2151 century, in a country combining all
features of a state claiming to be governed by the rule of law and endowed with effective
government. How could a country which had enjoyed a relatively smooth power
transition in the past wake up to such politically instigated violence?
ONGERI, M (2021). The Contribution Of Post Election Crises To The Growth Of Electoral Democracy In Africa; A Case Study Of The 2008 Post Election Violence In Kenya. Afribary. Retrieved from https://afribary.com/works/the-contribution-of-post-election-crises-to-the-growth-of-electoral-democracy-in-africa-a-case-study-of-the-2008-post-election-violence-in-kenya
ONGERI, MANWA "The Contribution Of Post Election Crises To The Growth Of Electoral Democracy In Africa; A Case Study Of The 2008 Post Election Violence In Kenya" Afribary. Afribary, 11 Jun. 2021, https://afribary.com/works/the-contribution-of-post-election-crises-to-the-growth-of-electoral-democracy-in-africa-a-case-study-of-the-2008-post-election-violence-in-kenya. Accessed 28 May. 2022.
ONGERI, MANWA . "The Contribution Of Post Election Crises To The Growth Of Electoral Democracy In Africa; A Case Study Of The 2008 Post Election Violence In Kenya". Afribary, Afribary, 11 Jun. 2021. Web. 28 May. 2022. < https://afribary.com/works/the-contribution-of-post-election-crises-to-the-growth-of-electoral-democracy-in-africa-a-case-study-of-the-2008-post-election-violence-in-kenya >.
ONGERI, MANWA . "The Contribution Of Post Election Crises To The Growth Of Electoral Democracy In Africa; A Case Study Of The 2008 Post Election Violence In Kenya" Afribary (2021). Accessed May 28, 2022. https://afribary.com/works/the-contribution-of-post-election-crises-to-the-growth-of-electoral-democracy-in-africa-a-case-study-of-the-2008-post-election-violence-in-kenya