The 4 March elections will be Kenya’s first since the widespread violence that followed the December 2007 presidential election shocked the country and the world. The 2007/8 post-election violence lasted two months, during which time 1,133 Kenyans were killed, while over 600,000 were driven from their homes. In keeping with R2P, international actors responded swiftly to halt the violence and Kenya is widely cited as the first successful example of “R2P in practice.”
Political tensions and incidents of inter-communal violence have been rising in Kenya over the past year. The stakes during the upcoming election period are extremely high. It is imperative that, in keeping with R2P, the Kenyan government, with the support of the African Union (AU), UN, key states and local civil society, intensify efforts to prevent a recurrence of violence and potential mass atrocity crimes.
The following Policy Brief applies the R2P lens to the risks associated with the upcoming elections in Kenya and provides policy recommendations for how to prevent potential mass atrocities.