Recurrent Ethnic Violence and Claims of Communities Arming Ahead of the 2012 General Elections

Kenya experienced political and inter-ethnic violence following disputed national elections inDecember 2007. At least 1,300 people died in a cycle of ethnic unrest, revenge killings andpolice raids across the country as rival PNU and ODM presidential candidates clashed over theoutcome of the 2007 presidential poll. While the 2007—2008 post election violence was neither unique nor new in Kenya’s political landscape, its magnitude and geographical spread was unprecedented. Since the re-introduction of multiparty politics in Kenya in the early 1990s, other general election periods have had their share of election-related violence. Indeed, many regions in the country, especially the Rift Valley, Western and Coast regions have experienced intermittentor recurrent violence at every election period since the re-introduction of multipartyism in Kenya. Concerned with various indications and responding to information that communities were armingthemselves in readiness for self-defence (read violence), particularly during the upcoming general elections scheduled to take place in 2012, the Kenya Human Rights Commission dispatched a team of researchers and investigators on a fact-finding mission to interrogate these claims.
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