On 30-31 March, in Geneva, the Kofi Annan Foundation hosted ‘The Kenya National Dialogue and Reconciliation: One Year Later’. Through a number of panel discussions, the two-day meeting drew lessons from the mediation in Kenya that can be shared with Africa and the wider world.
Under the chairmanship of Kofi Annan, the meeting brought together key actors who participated in the mediation effort in early 2008, as well as international and Kenyan civil society representatives, academics, analysts and members of the media who were observers of the events during that time or who have since studied the process that led to the National Accord.
A copy of the meeting agenda, the biographical notes of speakers and moderators, and a participants list are available.
Submissions presented at the meeting
A copy of the report published at the conclusion of the meeting is available here.
Background on the Kenya mediation process
The dispute over the results of the Kenyan presidential election in December 2007 led to unprecedented violence, ethnic animosity and mass displacement in what was considered a peaceful and stable country. The rapid escalation of the crisis provoked swift reactions from the international community. These included visits to the country by the then Chairperson of the African Union and President of Ghana John Kufuor, Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa, and the Forum of Former African Heads of State and Government led by former Mozambican President Joachim Chissano. When all efforts to halt the violence failed, the African Union mandated a Panel of Eminent African Personalities, chaired by Mr. Kofi Annan with former Tanzanian President Benjamin Mkapa and former Mozambican Minister and First Lady Graça Machel as members, to find a peaceful resolution to the crisis.
On 29 January 2008, one week after the Panel’s arrival in Nairobi, the Kenya National Dialogue and Reconciliation (KNDR) was formally launched in a meeting between the Panel and the two Principals – President Mwai Kibaki who heads the Party of National Unity (PNU) and Honourable Raila Odinga leader of the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM). On 1 February 2008, the Agenda for the talks was agreed and the parties completed the first two Agenda items, ‘Immediate Action to Stop Violence and Restore Fundamental Rights and Liberties’, and ‘Measures to Address the Humanitarian Crisis, Promote Reconciliation, Healing and Restoration of Stability’ on 1 and 4 February, respectively. Over the course of the next three weeks, the talks focused exclusively on Agenda Item Three – ‘How to Resolve the Political Crisis’. On 28 February, a power-sharing agreement was reached pursuant to which a Coalition Government comprising the PNU and ODM was established. The talks continued on to Agenda Item Four, ‘Long Term Issues and Solutions’, which is still being addressed.
During the negotiations, the Kenyan parties also agreed to establish three important commissions: the Independent Review Commission on the 2007 elections (IREC) and the Commission of Inquiry into the Post-Election Violence (CIPEV), which have both completed their work and submitted final reports, and the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission (TJRC), which is in the process of being established. The parties further agreed to pursue a comprehensive constitutional review process, which is also underway. At the conclusion of the mediation phase of the process in July 2008, the KNDR stressed the need to ensure the continued role of the Panel during the implementation phase, including through the establishment of a Coordination and Liaison Office (CLO) in Nairobi.
One year on, the Coalition Government is working to implement the KNDR agreements and the recommendations of IREC and CIPEV. Although the situation in Kenya was unique, certain characteristics of the crisis and its root causes, and the manner in which these were addressed by the Panel and the Kenyan parties, can be studied with a view to deriving lessons learned for possible application in other situations.
An overview of events leading to the establishment of the Kenya National Dialogue and Reconciliation and implementation of its various agreements is available.
A copy of the monitoring and evaluation report on the implementation of the Kenya National Accord by South Consulting is avaliable here: South Consulting Monitoring and Evaluation
A research paper on the mediation process in Kenya by the United Nations Studies Program is avaliable here: A Choice for Peace? The story of 41 days of mediation in Kenya
For further information on the Kenya National Dialogue and Reconciliation process please visit: http://www.dialoguekenya.org/default.aspx
‘The Kenya National Dialogue and Reconciliation: One Year Later’ meeting was held at the invitation and under the chairmanship of Mr. Kofi Annan, and in partnership with the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue and the International Center for Transitional Justice.