A month in advance of Kenyan elections, Human Rights Watch has issued a 58-page report warning of the possibility of a return to the kind of violence that marred previous elections, according to a press statement from the organization.
The report, titled “High Stakes: Political Violence and the 2013 Elections in Kenya,” was based on interviews around Kenya. It notes that in 2012 and 2013, there have already been 477 deaths and the displacement of 118,000 people related to intra-communal clashes, violence that has been linked to pre-election maneuvering according to the group.
The following are some of the highlights of the report and related news regarding Kenya and its upcoming elections.
* Elections are scheduled for March 4.
* The report said that local politicians mobilizing support, in conjunction with a lack of police and local authority effort to curb violence or prosecute perpetrators, was a key factor in ongoing violence in the country.
* Human Rights Watch Africa Director Daniel Bekele said that “the government has failed to address the root causes of violence that have marred multi-party elections since 1992, and especially the atrocities of 2007-2008, so urgent steps are needed to protect Kenyans,” according to the group’s statement.
* The report urged authorities to deploy an adequately manned police force in areas of potential conflict and said that the African Union (AU) and Kenya’s key partners should apply pressure on the government to make certain there would be free, fair and peaceful elections.
* According to the AFP , tensions in the East African country have escalated with the approaching trial of Uhuru Kenyatta by the International Criminal Court (ICC).
* The ICC indicated that Kenyatta, a key presidential candidate, Deputy Prime Minister, and former Minister for Finance, is allegedly criminally responsible for murder, rape, persecution, deportation or forcible transfer, and other inhumane acts following the 2007 elections.
* Xenophobia is driving Somali refugees from Kenya, Al Jazeera reported on Friday, where they are being harassed by police and are being falsely accused of attacks. There are around 500,000 registered Somali refugees in the country.
* On Friday, another AFP report indicated that cattle raiders had killed at least seven people in the Rift Valley. Cattle rustling and revenge killings between rival groups are common in the area.
By Shawn Humphrey
Shawn Humphrey is a former contributor to The Flint Journal and an amateur Africanist, focusing his personal studies on human rights and political issues on the continent.


  1. The problem with Kenya and other African Country is its judiciary systems. Why in the world will the Kenya court allows someone who was already indited by International court for crime against humanity,been allowed to run for the President and represent the same people he was accused of committing crime against?

    This guy should not have been allowed to run in the first place. This is the weakness of all African leadership they have a tendency to allow one of their peers to get away with murder, African masses should not go for those kind of leaders anymore.

  2. The African Continent is still backward in good governances and projected democratization
    standard systems and Kenya like the rest of the AU countries is no exception. Kenya was lucky
    enough to move away from one party Kanu rule to multiparty and new drafted constitution in the
    last elections. However, whether the same momentum would be maintained to work in the
    upcoming elections remains to be seen. The NFD Kenyan Somalis should be prepared to make
    their selected leaders could make better differences to serve their people in competitive ways
    in line with the rest of all Kenyans.