Kenya. The bloody aftermath of the 2007 presidential
election dominated the 2009 New Year in Kenya. Nearly 1,500
people were killed and hundreds of thousands were driven
away from their homes when the kikuyu and luo ethnic groups
at the beginning of 2008 rallied in violence that was fueled
by politicians and businessmen. In February Parliament
rejected a government proposal to set up a special court to
investigate the main suspects. The majority justified the
decision that they did not trust the domestic judiciary and
that the issues should be raised at the International
Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague.
countryaah, former UN chief Kofi Annan, who mediated the conflict,
threatened to hand over a list to the ICC with the names of
the leading suspects unless Kenya created a special court
within a reasonable time. He later gave the country a
deadline until the end of August, but since the government
informed the ICC in July that such a court could not stand
until mid-2010, Annan sent the secret name list to The
Hague. Then the government announced that it had scrapped
the plans of a special court. Instead, the domestic
judiciary and the police would be reformed, and then the
question of responsibility for the wave of violence would be
handed over to the usual local courts. It caused a stir
among those who had hoped for a special court, where at
least some of the judgments would have been taken from
Public confidence in Kenya's police force is very weak.
During the riots in early 2008, police are suspected to have
killed hundreds of people. Human rights groups believe that
the country cannot become a rule of law without a
fundamental police reform. In September, the government
responded to the criticism and replaced most senior police
officers. The ICC announced in November that the court would
quickly address the Kenyan issues and that the first trials
could start in 2010.
In January, President Mwai Kibaki wrote under a heavily
criticized media law that gives the police the right to
search the house for news editions, intercept journalists'
phones and monitor broadcasts in the media. In September,
Kibaki extended an order for Anti-Corruption Commission
Chief Aaron Ringera. Prime Minister Raila Odinga felt that
Ringera had not done anything important and should be
replaced, and Parliament refused to approve the appointment.
Since Ringera took office in 2002, not a single senior
official has been convicted of corruption. The conflict
ended with Ringera opting to resign voluntarily.
Serious unrest in April shook the city of Karatina in
central Kenya, where residents clashed with the mafia-like
sect Mungiki, accused of both a series of murders and of
extortion. Mungiki's leader Maina Njenga was indicted, but
released six months later for lack of evidence.
In August, the first census of ten years began; a
sensitive issue in a country where ethnic affiliation has
proven to be of great importance. The result of the 1999
census was never published.
In September, the authorities began demolishing the
Nairobi neighborhood of Kagera, Africa's largest slum area
with about one million residents. Within five years,
everyone should have moved to newly built housing.