Kenya. Tensions rose in Kenya ahead of the upcoming presidential and parliamentary elections. Within the unifying government, which had been formed in 2008 to end the violence after the 2007 elections, disagreement prevailed over when the election would be held, but according to a court ruling at the beginning of the year, it must be held no later than 60 days after the expiry of the sitting parliament’s mandate in January 2013. In March, Election Day was nailed to March 4, 2013. The political situation was further tightened when the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague announced on January 23 that four Kenyans would be prosecuted for crimes committed the weeks after the 2007 election, when more than 1,100 people were killed. Among the defendants were three high-ranking politicians: Finance Minister Uhuru Kenyatta, Cabinet Secretary Francis Muthaura and former Education Minister William Ruto, and the head of a radio station.
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Kenyatta and Muthaura now left their government posts (Kenyatta, however, was allowed to remain as Deputy Prime Minister). However, both Kenyatta and Ruto intended, despite the charges, to stand in the upcoming presidential election. The lawsuits against them would only begin after the election, the trial of Ruto and Arap Sang would start on April 10, 2013 and the one against Kenyatta and Muthaura a day later. President Mwai Kibaki and the Kenyan government, who opposed the ICC to take up the cases, made new efforts to try them in a regional African court instead. Both Ruto and Kenyatta accused Prime Minister Raila Odinga of being behind the ICC prosecution. ICC chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda in October criticized the government for not being sufficiently cooperative. She emphasized that legal proceedings would continue even if one of the defendants was elected president. Another two persons were the subject of the ICC investigation, but no charges were brought due to lack of evidence.
As the election approached, a series of layoffs from the government parties occurred as politicians attempted to acquire new platforms for the upcoming elections. Kenyatta, who received high opinion numbers, resigned from Kenya’s African National Union (KANU) and in May formed a new party, the National Alliance (TNA). In the same month, Musalia Mudavadi resigned as Deputy Prime Minister and at the same time left Odinga’s Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) and joined the newly formed Party United Democratic Forum (UDFP). The UDFP was said to stand close to President Kibaki.
Former political enemies Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto decided in early December that their parties would cooperate in a group called the Jubilee Alliance. There also joined Musalia Mudavadi and his party. But the collaboration between Mudavadi and the other two has cracked considerably since Kenyatta was appointed presidential candidate the week before Christmas with Ruto as his vice presidential candidate.
In early December, Raila Odinga also formed a new alliance, called the Coalition for Reform and Democracy (CORD), together with Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka. Later that month, Odinga was named CORD’s candidate in the presidential election.
George Saitoti, another prominent politician who had been named as probable presidential candidate, died in a helicopter crash in June. It was unclear what had caused the crash, something that sparked speculation that it was a sabotage.
Saitoti was responsible for the country’s internal security and was believed to have pushed Kenya to join the military in neighboring Somalia in 2011. The Kenyan troops succeeded in capturing the port city of Kismayu in the autumn, one of the strongholds of Islamist militia al-Shabaab. From February, the Kenyan troops formally joined the African Union Peace Force in Somalia (AMISOM).
The militant al-Shabaab was suspected of a series of attacks in Kenya. Most of them were aimed at people in the area near the border with Somalia, in Nairobi or around the coastal city of Mombasa. One of the bloodiest deaths was a concerted attack in July against two churches in the city of Garissa in the Northeast when at least 15 people were killed.
The act created tensions between ethnic Somalis and the rest of the population, which led to violence in several places. Following new attacks in December, the authorities urged thousands of Somali refugees to leave the cities and head to two already overcrowded refugee camps.
Concerns also rose in the coastal province, where the population has long felt neglected by the Nairobi government. Mombasa’s Republican Council (MRC) threatened to boycott the election if it was not allowed to form an independent coastal state (MRC had been banned by the government in 2010 for “criminal activity”, but the ban had been lifted by a court in August).
At the end of August, riots broke out in Mombasa after an Islamist preacher, Aboud Rogo Mohammed, who was suspected of being linked to al-Shabaab, had been shot dead. It was unclear who performed the act, but many Muslims blamed the police.
A dispute over grazing land between the peoples snake and pokoma in the Tana River district in the southeast demanded hundreds of lives in August and September. Local politicians in the area were accused of playing on old tensions to strengthen their own position before the parliamentary elections. The situation was made worse by the fact that so many weapons were in circulation in the region due to the conflict in Somalia. Prosecution was brought in September against Dhadho Godhana, who was also forced to resign as deputy minister of cattle. New violence erupted in December, demanding forty lives.
In October, the United Kingdom High Court granted three Kenyans the right to sue the British authorities for being subjected to torture and other abuses during the so-called Mau-Mau uprising in the 1950s. The British government had previously admitted that torture had occurred, but considered that too long had passed for those involved to be given a fair trial of the cases.
According to countryaah, the population of Kenya in 2012 was 47,878,225, ranking number 28 in the world. The population growth rate was 2.640% yearly, and the population density was 84.1240 people per km2.