Conflict Summary

Kenya experienced widespread inter-ethnic conflict following the presidential and parliamentary elections of December 2007. Reports of voting irregularities and a delay in announcing the results of presidential elections, followed by a hurried declaration of a victory for incumbent candidate Mwai Kibaki, sparked violence by opposition supporters, who believed that Raila Odinga had prevailed at the polls. The violence initially involved attacks on Kikuyu and their property by mobs of ethnic Kalenjin in the Rift Valley, a move designed to drive Kikuyu from the region. This was followed by reprisal attacks against ethnic Luo and Kalenjin. At the same time, police used excessive force to control crowds of opposition supporters and rioters.

Reports indicate that the president’s Party of National Unity (PNU) and the opposition Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) were both involved in vote rigging and organised gangs of youths to attack their opponents before and after the elections, leading to claims on both sides of ethnic cleansing. Following significant international pressure, an agreement between the PNU and ODM was reached in talks led by former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan. By 28 February a power-sharing deal had been agreed and a new grand coalition government was established, in which Kibaki remained president and Odinga took up the newly created post of prime minister.