Kenyan security officers inspect the site of a bombing suspected to have been carried out by al-Shabaab. Mandera, Kenya, July 8, 2015. (Xinhua/Corbis)

August 24, 2015

by Margaret Williams

Republished from: IPI Global Observatory

Neglecting the needs of Somali communities in the northeast of Kenya leaves room for extremist groups such as al-Shabaab to radicalize them, said Moses Onyango, Director of the Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs at the United States International University—Africa.
“If you look at the issue of radicalization, there are many factors that are involved, but basically the main factor that you find in the Kenyan situation is the issue of marginalization,” said Mr. Onyango,  also a Fellow of the African Leadership Centre, Kings College London.

“We are looking at northeastern Kenya, which is mainly inhabited by the Kenyan-Somalis and has been neglected for many years in terms of development … the response has been that most of these extremist groups have looked at that particular gap and identified it, and have infiltrated the Kenyan communities in terms of offering development where the state has failed.”

Speaking with International Peace Institute Policy Analyst Margaret Williams, he said the Kenyan government had responded in three main ways to the recent spate of terrorist attacks in the country.

At the municipal level, the government has profiled the Kenyan Somalis in Nairobi, and arrested them, and some of them have been deported back to Somalia. At the international level, the government has initiated construction of a wall between the border of Kenya and Somalia. And most recently, the government has also given a softer approach of offering amnesty to some of the Kenyans,” Mr. Onyango said.

He said the effects of these tactics had often been to increase marginalization, and offered support for alternative strategies such as increasing youth employment and entrepreneurship opportunities.

August 13, 2015

by Bappah Habibu Yaya

Republished from: IPI Global Observatory

After the death of over 11,000 people, and a year of intense remedial efforts, the global response to Ebola in West Africa is shifting from emergency to recovery mode. This follows the successes in containing the spread of the virus in the region, and the possibility of “getting to zero and staying zero,” as recently demonstrated by Liberia.

As part of the recovery process, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon hosted an international Ebola Recovery Conference in New York in July, to focus attention on the need for targeted investments to support recovery priorities over a 24-month time frame.


President Paul Kagame on voting day, August 2010. Photo: Paul Kagame (published under fair use policy for intellectual non-commercial purposes)

August 4, 2015

by Anisha Hira

Republished from Strife

The debate over extending the executive term limit to allow President Paul Kagame to run for a third term in the Republic of Rwanda has been framed as a clash between exemplary leadership and constitutionalism. On the one hand, the Rwandan constitution was carefully constructed in order to rebuild the institutions of the country and, therefore, should not be amended. On the other hand, Kagame has propelled Rwanda forward, both socially and economically – in the 21 years since the genocide Kagame has rebuilt Rwanda’s institutions and developed a sense of national unity.

But a third term for Kagame will not necessarily contradict the constitution. Indeed, the only way that the fundamental goals laid out in the consitution can be achieved is through a third term for Kagame, precisely because he is the only person who can act as the guardian of the Constitution and guarantee national unity.

Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta prepares to address the country's parliament. Nairobi, Kenya, March 26, 2015. (Simon Maina/AFP/Getty Images)

August 4, 2015

by Moses Onyango

Republished from The IPI Global Observatory

United States President Barack Obama’s July visit to his father’s ancestral home elicited a lot of hope for a country working to maintain its reputation as an island of peace in a region of turmoil. As Obama noted, Kenya has made tremendous progress economically and in the political realm; its economy is growing very fast, and its democratization process is on the right track. Kenya has one of the strongest constitutions in the region, promulgated in 2010, in which popular sovereignty, structures and powers of government, civil society, and a bill of rights are well defined.

However, the current government has made several attempts to reverse the many democratic gains that ordinary Kenyans have made to secure their rights within the 2010 constitution, under the pretext of fighting violent extremism and terrorism. Obama’s spotlight on Kenya therefore offers a tremendous opportunity to tackle the security challenges without compromising the freedom of its people.

Clement Sefa-Nyarko


Strife Journal, Issue 5 (May/ June 2015)

Republished from Strife

By Clement Sefa-Nyarko

Clement Sefa-Nyarko has an article: History Production after Undemocratic Regime Change: The Impact of Ghana’s Competing Independence Narratives after the First Coup d’État on Peace and Political Stability published on Strife Journal

This article explores one of the “secrets” of Ghana’s political stability since the 1990s from the perspectives of history, memory and remembrance. Undemocratic regime changes have characterized post independence sub-Saharan Africa, both during and after the Cold War. Coup d’etats especially characterized the immediate post-Cold War era. Just like the mechanisms of the victor’s narrative in all post-conflict societies, coup makers manipulate history to sustain their agenda. Military and police elements staged the first coup d’etat in Ghana in 1966 to topple Kwame Nkrumah’s regime. Despite Nkrumah’s dominance in Ghanaian post-independence nation-building and his immense global appeal, the 1966 coup makers and subsequent regimes made efforts to erase his memory in Ghana until the 1980s. This was a period of aggravated culture of silence imposed against Nkrumah’s memory and legacies. The transition that led to his remembrance helped Ghanaians to purify the memory of violence and atrocities during his regime. In contemporary Ghana, Nkrumah has become a source of conflict and consensus, fostering national conversation (controversies) that ironically promotes social cohesion and political stability. The political conversation highlights the disagreement and consensus around Nkrumah, overshadowing sectarian, ethnic and religious tensions to a large extent; which has had positive impact on political stability. This article explores some of the contours of agreement and disagreement about Ghana’s past, and discusses their impact on its nascent democratic regime.

Download the article here.


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