All tagged Kenya

A Fatal Feud - Colonial Roots of Kenya’s 2007 Post-election Violence

Since its independence in 1963, Kenya has been hailed as an island of peace and stability within Africa. It therefore came as a surprise to the international community when violence rocked the country starting December 28, 2007, barely twenty-four hours after the conclusion of a highly contested presidential election. What could have caused the 2007 post-election violence?

Consider the flying toilet. The term comes from the Kibera slum in Nairobi, Kenya. Within the slum, there is often less than one latrine per 50 shacks, with each 12-foot by 12-foot shack containing, on average, eight people. Kibera sits on government land that never fully transferred legally to its pre-independence residents, and, as such, the government treats residents as squatters with no right or entitlement to legal, social, or economic protection. A complete lack of governmental presence within the slum means that at night, with no street lights and collections of roving thugs (and, at times, predatory policemen looking for a shakedown), using toilets can become dangerous. In response, shacks stock up on plastic bags, defecate or urinate into them after dark, and fling them from their windows out into the streets to bake in the morning sun.

Last week, the Kenyan government officially declared an “offensive military agenda,” an action that many are calling Kenya's first war. Interestingly, this war is not with another nation, but with Al-Shabaab – an extremist militia splinter group of Al-Qaeda that has controlled large parts of Somalia for years.