Resources and Reports

The following reports, articles, and research briefs provide background and information on peace and violence in Kenya.


“Waki report” by the Commission of Inquiry into Post-Election Violence (CIPEV), October 2008

The mandate of the Commission of Inquiry into Post-Election Violence (CIPEV) was to investigate the facts and circumstances surrounding the post-election violence (PEV) of 2007/8. In 518 pages, the Waki report found that the PEV was spontaneous in some geographic areas and a result of planning and organization in other areas, often with the involvement of politicians and business leaders. It finds that there were systematic attacks on Kenyans based on their ethnicity and their political leanings.

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“Kriegler report” by the Independent Review Commission (IREC), September 2008

It was impossible for the Independent Review Commission (IREC) to establish true or reliable results for the presidential and parliamentary elections in its 164 page long report. According to the IREC, the question of rigging of the elections is “irrelevant,” because it was so pervasive, and the recorded and reported results are so inaccurate as to render any reasonably accurate, reliable and convincing conclusion impossible.

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“Ballot to Bullets” by Human Rights Watch, 16 March 2008

This 81-page report by Human Rights Watch documents details how hundreds of lives were lost due to organized political and ethnic violence sparked by irregularities in the December 2007 presidential elections. The report also describes unlawful killings by the Kenyan police, who it finds used excessive force in responding to demonstrations, killing hundreds of people.

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“Understanding Political Violence Among Youth” by MercyCorps, 8 June 2011

This short research brief of MercyCorps argues for economic incentives and building social connections among youth across lines of division as pillars of peace-building programs in Kenya. The creation of both short and longer-term employment opportunities for youth is necessary, as well as the support to collective action among interethnic groups of youth. Young people need to be involved in political and civic engagement in order to significantly reduce their risk of participation in violent movements, lending support for a cross-sectoral approach in youth and conflict programming.

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The Kenya National Dialogue and Reconciliation (KNDR) Monitoring Project, June 2011

Data collected between 2008 and 2010 reveal that the social-political and economic situation did improve. By June 2011, however, people cite the rising cost of living and inflation in general as the main challenges facing the country. Only half of the respondents feel safer. Many people feel life is getting worse as compared to one year ago. The report finds that the socioeconomic situation eeds to be addressed urgently because its negative social consequences could exacerbate political difficulties and destabilize the framework for reforms and the society in general.

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“Violence, hate speech and inflammatory broadcasting in Kenya” by Keith Somerville, March 2011

During and after the 2007/8 post-election violence in Kenya, human rights groups accused sections of the Kenyan media – notably local vernacular radio stations – of broadcasting messages of hate and inciting ethnic hatred and violence. Some observers went so far as to compare the situation to Rwanda during the 1994 genocide. This academic article, published in “Ecquid Novi: African Journalism Studies”, looks at the context of the violence, the inflammatory and at times violent nature of political discourse in Kenya and the role vernacular radio stations play in the discourse.

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“Digitally Networked Technology in Kenya’s 2007–2008 Post-Election Crisis” by Joshua Goldstein & Juliana Rotich, September 2008

Using the lens of the 2007/8 Kenyan presidential election crisis, this short case study produced by the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard Universtiy illustrates how digitally networked technologies, specifically mobile phones and the Internet, were a catalyst to both predatory behavior such as ethnic-based mob violence and to civic behavior such as citizen journalism and human rights campaigns. The paper concludes that while digital tools can help promote transparency and keep perpetrators from facing impunity, they can also increase the ease of promoting hate speech and ethnic divisions.

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The Risk of Genocide in Kenya” by the Sentinel Project, 10 May 2011

The violent conflict in the aftermath of the December 2007 national elections was born out of a political and social order marked by ethnocentrism and inter-tribal antagonism which had produced similar violence during other elections in the past. The Senitel Project predicts that the next general elections in 2012 have a high risk that this pattern will continue and produce further violence. The report finds a risk of genocide and a need to monitor the situation and prevent escalation.

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