n African Renaissance - The 2007 post-election crisis in Kenya as a crisis of state institutions

Volume 5 Number 3-4
  • ISSN : 1744-2532
  • E-ISSN: 2516-5305


Following the 2007 presidential elections, Kenya witnessed the most violent political upheaval since its independence in 1963. This crisis was mainly blamed on the rigging of votes reportedly committed by the incumbent and his ruling Party of National Unity (PNU). As it later became clear, however, the vote rigging was not any more than a triggering factor. The roots of the crisis were several and lie elsewhere in the political history of the country. The most important ones include the legacy of colonial rule, unequal patterns of control of political power and distribution of resources among members of different communities as well as the question of ownership and access to land. This paper goes further and argues that the conflict in Kenya is attributable to institutional problems of the Kenyan state. These institutional problems are of two types. The first of these relates to the existence of political and institutional arrangements that exacerbated divisions and rivalry. The other relates to problems in the functioning of key institutions.

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