Kenya, Bridging Ethnic Divides

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The National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) was set up to facilitate and promote equality of opportunity, good relations, harmony and peaceful coexistence between persons of the different ethnic and racial communities of Kenya, and to advise the Government on all aspects thereof after the violence that followed the December 2007 elections. In Kenya, Bridging Ethnic Divides: A Commissioner�s Experience on Cohesion and Integration, Commissioner Alice Wairimu Nderitu looks behind the scenes at the NCIC�s efforts to ensure peaceful co-existence. Such as, working with elders, mediating confidentially between political leaders at the highest levels and co-founding and working as first Co-Chair of Uwiano Platform for Peace, a conflict prevention agency largely credited with leading efforts in ensuring peaceful processes during the 2010 Constitutional referendum and 2013 General elections. The book tells of NCIC�s efforts in grappling with the seemingly intractable problem of managing the negative consequence of ethnic differences on questions such as: Why is Kenya so ethnically polarised? Why is an ethnic group the key defining factor in Kenyan politics? What hope is there for an inclusive Kenya? The book shows that positive policies and intra- and inter-ethnic spaces can be used to counter negative influences that lead to fear, exclusion and violence. The diversity of Kenya�s ethnicities and races need not be a pretext for conflict, but a source of truly national identity. It proves that dialogue on understanding differences and commonalities leads to improved relationships and understanding on societal dynamics. This in turn, contributes to preventing and transforming conflicts through appropriate inclusion policies, identifying entry points for change as well as opportunities to tackle the norms and behaviours that underpin structural disparities.

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Ajouté le 12 décembre 2018
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EAN13 9789966190338
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Kenya Bridging Ethnic Divides
A Commissioner’s Experience on Cohesion and Integration
Alice Wairimũ Nderitũ
Published by Mdahalo Bridging Divides Limited. P.O Box 5780-00200, Nairobi. info@mdahalo.org
Copyright © Alice Wairimũ Nderitũ 2018
First published in 2018
Alice Wairimũ Nderitũ asserts the right to be identiIed as the author of this work. All rights reserved. Without limiting the rights under copyright above, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise), without the prior written permission of the copyright owner.
ISBN:978-9966-1903-1-4
Printed and bound in Kenya by Ramco Printing Works Limited.
CONTENTS
Dedication .............................................................................................................. v Foreword................................................................................................................ vi Preface.................................................................................................................. ix Acknowledgements................................................................................................ xi Acronyms & Abbreviations ................................................................................xiv Introduction .........................................................................................................xx Map of Kenya.................................................................................................xxxii
PART I: NCIC, KENYA’S “ETHNIC NATIONS” & ROOTS OF HATE .............................................................1 1. Conception of NCIC: A Panacea for Ethnic and Race divisions?........ 2 2. Kenya Bleeds: 2007-2008 Crisis .................................................................. 9 3. Sowing Seeds of Ethnic Hatred: Colonial State in Perspective ........... 19 4. The Railway Divide: Post-Independence Leadership as an Accomplice .......................................................................................... 31
PART II: PROJECT KENYA: MEDIATION EFFORT AND OUTCOMES...................................................................... 52 5. Annan, Graca and Mkapa trio: Journey to the National Accord......... 53 6. Reforming Institutions: Agenda 4 Commissions ................................... 67 7. Fear Replaces Optimism: ICC, Migingo and Al-Shabaab..................... 84
PART III: ONE KENYA, ONE PEOPLE: LAYING THE FOUNDATION ............................................................... 98 8. Intrigues that set the Cohesion Agenda: NCIC Birth .......................... 99 9. Finding Our Feet: Our Mandate............................................................ 104 10. Honing Our Strategy: The Crucial Agenda, Critical Threads, Triage ..117 11. Kibaki, Raila Fusion: Our First Cohesion Test .................................. 130
PART IV: IN THE TRENCHES: PROCESS MILESTONES........ 149 12. Hate Speech: Receiving Complaints and Memoranda....................... 150 13. Pains and Gains for Cohesion: Agenda 4 Commissions’ Findings........ 156 14. Harmonised Draft Constitution: 2010 referendum........................... 160 15. Clamping Down on Hate Speech ......................................................... 170 16. The Birth of The Uwiano Platform For Peace.................................. 179 17. Referendum Aftermath: Conict Mapping and a New Constitution.... 206 18. Conict Prevention and the ICC.......................................................... 218
PART V: IN SEARCH OF KENYA’S SOUL....................................233 19. Mediation in North Eastern .................................................................. 234 20. Revisiting the Process Milestones......................................................... 245 21. Boiling Pot: The Nakuru Peace Process.............................................. 251 22. Mediating ethnic conicts in the North:The Turbi Massacre Aftermath............................................................ 278 23. From Ethnicists to Kenyans: Discussing “Ethnicism” on National TV .......................................... 288 24. International Exposure........................................................................... 304 25. People’s Conferences: Ethnic and Race Relations Policy.................. 315
PART VI: HARD CHOICES: STEPS IN SEARCH OF COHESION ...............................................................346 26. Ethnic audit of Kenya’s Civil Service .................................................. 347 27. Partnership with Education Ministry and KICD............................... 367 28. Peace! Peace! Peace!: The 2013 Elections............................................ 392 29. The Cohesion Quest Shows .................................................................. 399
PART VII: COHESION AND INTEGRATION: A DREAM DEFERRED ..................................................................... 413 30. Spreading the Word: Peace Ambassador ............................................. 414 31. Countdown to 2013 elections ............................................................... 419 32. Kenya after 2013 Vote: Which way, Ethnicism?................................. 461 Epilogue ............................................................................................................ 490 Annexes............................................................................................................ 494 End Notes......................................................................................................... 506 Index................................................................................................................. 517
Dedication
For Benjamin M. Akuete Without whom This book would have remained As a draft thought In my mind
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Foreword
have had the privilege of following the sterling work on peace I that has been the lifetime commitment of the remarkable Kenyan peacemaker, Alice WairimøNderitø.In 2017, Wairimøwon the Global Pluralism Award in recognition of her conict mediation efforts in Kenya and other parts of the world. Before she took her service to the world, however, Wairimøthe pioneer commissionersserved as one of of Kenya’s National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) between 2009 and 2013. When I served as UN Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, Wairimøwas always available and often found opportunities in which we could support each other’s work. I am therefore honoured and excited to be asked to write the foreword to the work of a colleague and friend whose commitment to the creation of a better world remains a source of inspiration to many people in various parts of the world. Wairimøwritten an important book on ethnicity and ethnic has discrimination that has continued to hobble African states and Kenya in particular, since its founding as a state. Kenya’s poisoned legacy of politicised ethnic identities and ethnic mobilisations to win elections înally exploded into violence in 2007 following a dispute over presidential election results. The post-election violence that followed turned into Kenya’s worst post-independence crisis of widespread ethnic violence that threatened to tear the country apart. That violence also heralded the establishment of various institutions and mechanisms for promoting better management of the country’s ethnic and cultural diversity and to provide leadership on cohesion and integration in the country. NCIC was the product of that dark period in Kenya’s history. WairimøNderitøthe pioneer commissioners in the NCICone of  as had a ringside seat in the establishment of that institution and in shaping the practice on how the Kenyan state would in future respond to incitement to ethnic discrimination and violence by politicians.
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Foreword
NCIC pioneered the practice of auditing the state of ethnic diversity in the civil service in Kenya, thus opening an important national conversation on inclusion and marginalisation in the country. NCIC is also remembered for summoning politicians to record statements and for issuing them with cessation notices for making inciting utterances. The establishment of NCICwas the îrst serious attempt at addressing the question of ethnic divisions and conict in post-independence Kenya. It should be remembered that right at independence in the 1960s, management of the ethnic diversity of the new Kenyan state was destined to be the deîning test of how successful Kenya was going to emerge as a viable and stable nation-state. As a political and geographical entity, Kenya is a product of colonialism which brought under one administration a collection of various cultural and linguistic groups that had previously lived under separate forms of governance. Colonialism did not create ethnic groups or ethnicity. Rather, what the colonial state did was to make ethnicity and race into political and legal categories that determined how individuals were to be governed and how rights were recognised, and resources allocated. Law and institutions of state solidiîed these racialised and ethnicised identities and made them part of the daily and ofîcial realities of African peoples. The single most tragic failure of many post-independence states was to allow these ethnicised identities to remain and to gain new signiîcance in the new states. Increasingly, many African countries found themselves struggling with the tensions of competing national and ethnic identities. In some countries, these tensions exploded into civil wars, while in others like Kenya, the tensions remained latent, constantly bubbling under the surface and occasionally bursting into episodes of violence. When these tensions ared into open violence after the presidential elections’ dispute of 2007, the illusion of the country as an exception from the tragic story of many other African countries was violently put to rest. WairimøNderitøand her fellow commissioners became the bearers of the difîcult responsibility of guiding a traumatised country into conversations on the raw and painful subjects of prejudices, exclusion, marginalisation and discrimination. For a country that had for long chosen not to even discuss ethnicity “for the sake of peace and
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Kenya Bridging Ethnic Divides
unity” as its political leaders put it, this was not an easy task for the new commission. Moreover, the political and economic systems that had generated the tensions and precipitated the conicts were to a large extent still in place. It is to the credit of this small team at the NCIC that they did not just succeeded in placing the issues of ethnic exclusion, hatred and incitement into popular and policy debates, but also managed to innovate tools such as cessation notices to rein in the provocative utterances by politicians. The challenges that NCIC faced and continues to experience in its efforts to promote cohesion and to prevent incitement to violence and discrimination are not unique to Kenya. Globally the questions of equality, diversity and cohesion continue to be at the centre of concerns over the health and future of free, open and democratic societies. In too many places, the world is experiencing growing hostility to diverse societies with migrants, refugees and minorities regularly subjected to institutional as well as social hostility and exclusion. Mechanisms and institutions such as the NCIC are important not just because of their mandate in sanctioning politicians for their divisive utterances but even more important in their role as the proverbial canary in the mine-warning us of the dangers of the poison of division, exclusion and incitement. Wairimø Nderitøher colleagues have played their role in a and difîcult environment as her reections in this book attest.WairimøNderitøhas recorded what is possible where individuals are committed to the mission of their mandate. Ultimately however, it should be remembered that management of diversity is about politics. Where politics and political leaders fail to provide the vision and policies to transform societies into a more inclusive community that celebrates diversity, there is only so much that institutions such as NCIC can do.
Dr Mutuma Ruteere
Former UN Special Rapporteur on Contemporary Forms of Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance
viii
Preface
n early September 2009, I was sitting in a church in Ngong town, I Kenya, watching with my family as my son Mark Nderitøreceived the sacrament of conîrmation. I was so proud of my son yet îlled with trepidation. Just a few days before, my family had stood with me in the Chief Justice’s chambers, watching as I was sworn in as a Commissioner of the Kenya National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC), with the massive task of promoting peaceful coexistence between ethnic, religious and racial groups in a country fresh from the worst violence in living memory.Away from the ceremony, my attention was drawn to a woman sitting next to me. She was very clean, her pale white dress, with several patches of cloth sewn over holes, falling in pleats around her. On closer examination, I noticed that white was not its original colour. It had faded patterns of green: many washes and the unrelenting African sun had taken away the original design. I pointed her out to my mother. But her dress was not the reason I asked my mother to look at the dress. She was barefoot, and her feet were scrubbed clean with pumice stone, but not enough to obscure the deep cracks in her heels. I had in my previous work at the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR) travelled the width and breadth of Kenya. I had met people so poor than the word could describe. I had seen people so hungry that death seemed to be a favour. But this woman touched something in me. Maybe it was because she was the only shoeless person in the church. There were several open-air markets in Ngong area selling second-hand shoes and dresses, some of which cost less than a dollar. Why wasn’t she having shoes and why was her dress so patched up? My mother told me: “In your new job you will travel the world, and rub shoulders with important people, but it’s a woman like this one you should be working for.” It was a moment I would always carry with me. This woman would epitomise what I knew I had to stand for. I told my mother
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