On the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the signing of the agreement that brought an end to the post-election violence of 2007/8, it is useful to reflect on the journey that Kenya has travelled, even though the country still faces an increasingly complicated future.
On February 28, 2008, the Party of National Unity and the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) under the mediation of the Kenya National Dialogue and Reconciliation (KNDR), signed an agreement to end the political violence that followed the disputed December 2007 elections.
This week, the country marks the 10th anniversary since the signing of that agreement.
More popularly known as the National Accord, the agreement established the office of Prime Minister, thus bringing the ODM into government, supposedly, on an equal basis as the PNU, which had been declared winner in the disputed election.
As a result of the accord, the ODM leader Raila Odinga became the Prime Minister and his party dropped the non-recognition of Mwai Kibaki who had been declared re-elected as the President.
Besides the National Accord, the KNDR produced other agreements, including one to address the drivers of the violence, which had necessitated the mediation in the first place.
Six areas formed the subject of agreement in this regard, including constitutional, institutional and legal reform; land reform; the need to address poverty, inequality and regional imbalances; the need to tackle unemployment among the youth; the need to deal with national consolidation and unity; and, the need to promote transparency and accountability and to deal with impunity.
The KNDR provided an implementation framework on the long-term issues that had been agreed on.
The two commissions of inquiry, Kriegler and Waki, constituted the agreed approach for addressing, respectively, electoral justice and accountability for crimes committed during the violence.
The report of the Kriegler Commission provided confidence for the brave decision to dissolve the maligned Electoral Commission of Kenya.
Also elements of the report eventually informed the content of the provisions on elections, when Kenya wrote a new Constitution in 2010.
The legacy of the Waki Commission was equally consequential, eventually anchoring the involvement of the International Criminal Court in Kenya’s affairs when, contrary to the recommendations of the commission, the government failed to establish a domestic mechanism to bring accountability for the crimes committed during the violence.
Dealing with the humanitarian crisis that resulted from the violence was the subject of an earlier agreement reached during the mediation.
This agreement was couched in terms of providing humanitarian assistance to persons who had been affected by the violence.
These have come to be known as Internally Displaced Persons (IDPS).
At the end of the mediation, mechanisms to drive and to monitor the implementation of the various agreements were created, including the so-called Ministry for Special Programmes, which became the focal agency for the delivery on IDP issues.