A Critical View of Kenya´s Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Agenda

Michael Owiso

Research output: Contribution to book/anthology/report/conference proceedingConference abstract in proceedingResearchpeer-review


Kenya, though not at war, is not at peace. The violence that erupted after the disputed elections in Kenya in the year 2007 aptly revealed this predicament. The conflict is partly rooted in the varying number and nature of historical injustices; land grabbing, economic marginalization, political assassinations, killings, torture, denial of basic needs, and other kinds of human rights abuses perpetrated under successive regimes since the country´s independence in 1963. The truth, justice and reconciliation process, whose report was presented to the president on May 21, 2013, after four years of work, was an attempt resolve this enigma and restore the country towards peace and stability. However, marginal success has been registered to date. Adopting a critical approach to inquiry this paper applies John Gaventa´s analysis of power and power asymmetries to examine the truth process agenda in Kenya. Taking it from this prism the paper first traces the roots of the conflict revealing the web of intricacies in the conflict. The paper examines decision making around the truth process and the power asymmetries therein. This is done against the parameters of how the elite continue to create quiescence amongst the populace and their intent on maintaining status quo. An analysis of documents, reports, newspaper articles as well as interviews purposively sampled and conducted between June - September, 2015 in Uasin Gishu, Wajir, Nairobi and Trans-nzoia, and Kericho counties, have been used as sources of data. The paper concludes that the approach so far taken is compromised for elite motivated political purposes and may not foster reconciliation and build a stable Kenya. In so doing the paper contributes to intellectual debate around truth commissions and their role in promoting democracy.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationBSU Seminar on Stability, Rights and Democracy
Publication date2016
Publication statusPublished - 2016
EventSeminar on Stability, Democracy and Rights in Kenya - Maseno University, Maseno, Kenya
Duration: 7 Dec 20158 Dec 2015


ConferenceSeminar on Stability, Democracy and Rights in Kenya
LocationMaseno University


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  • Researching East Africa

    Michael Owiso (Participant)

    13 May 2016

    Activity: Attending an eventConference organisation or participation

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