Kenya 2013 – A successful election?

Kenyans celebrate election

Date & Time: Tuesday 26 March, 6-8PM

Place: G2, SOAS

Event in association with the London African Media Network (LAMN)

Speakers: Professor Justin Willis, Durham University; Michela Wrong, journalist and author; Alpha Sesay, Legal Officer, International Justice, Open Society Justice Initiative (TBC) Chair: Solomon Mugera, Africa Editor, BBC

Kenya’s recently concluded elections were peaceful with a historic voter turnout of 86%. However, fears of post-election violence have now been replaced with concerns over the country’s future and stability.

After days of waiting, the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) announced a narrow win for the Jubilee Alliance, led by President-elect Uhuru Kenyatta and Vice-President William Ruto – both of whom face charges of crimes against humanity at the International Criminal Court (ICC) related to the violence following the last presidential election in 2007.

With a very tight result and amid allegations of incompetence, irregularities and technical failures in the electoral process, Prime Minister Raila Odinga, Kenyatta’s main rival and leader of the Coalition for Reform and Democracy (CORD), has filed an appeal. The decision of whether or not to re-run the elections now lies with the Supreme Court.

Many questions stem from the possible outcomes of the Supreme Court’s verdict and the pending ICC trial, scheduled for July: How does CORD’s appeal affect the government’s stability and legitimacy? Were the court to rule in favour of CORD, what impact would a new round of elections have on Kenya? How would a President and Vice-President run a country while on trial in The Hague? And what role will the international community play, given its strategic, military and financial interests in Kenya?

More questions arise in the context of Kenya’s politics and its future – based on its failures of 2007/2008, how has Kenya’s media faired in this election? And what is the potential of ‘One Kenya’ when the youth and the middle class turn to social networks to highlight ‘tribal’ differences?

These and other fundamental issues – including the land question, the role of civil society, secessionist movements, and the new constitution – will be discussed by a diverse panel of experts, who will be exploring where next for Kenya?

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