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Chronology for Somalis in Kenya

Publisher Minorities at Risk Project
Publication Date 2004
Cite as Minorities at Risk Project, Chronology for Somalis in Kenya, 2004, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/469f38af1e.html [accessed 29 July 2014]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.
Date(s) Item
1895 Kenya became a British protectorate.
1899 Land regulations enabled white settlers to expropriate much of the indigenous peoples' fertile land in the highlands.
1915 The British colonial administration instituted policies thwarting Africans from owning land in the Rift Valley area. The creation of the "White Highlands" displaced thousands of African nomadic groups (the Kalenjin, Maasai, Samburu, and Turkana) who had lived in the area. While the colonial settlers ousted these pastoralists who were unfit for providing agricultural labor, they recruited cheap labor from the neighboring areas (now Central, Nyanza and Western Provinces). Thousands of Kikuyu, Kisii, Luhya, and Luo squatters were brought into the Rift Valley area in the early 1900s.
1921 - 1930 European and Indian settlers made political claims. African political activity began to be organized, especially among the Kikuyu in Nairobi and among the Luo.
1923 The British colonial administration attempted to curb European and Indian aspirations for internal self-government.
1925 Local native councils were introduced.
1929 Jomo Kenyatta, a leader of the Kikuyu Central Association, went to the Colonial Office in London to present the Kikuyu's land claims. He stayed there until 1947.
1939 The colonial regime settled over 4,000 Kikuyu squatters on the areas (including Olenguruone, now in the Nakuru District) which had originally belonged to the Maasai.
1944 For the first time, an African was appointed to a position in the Legislative Assembly. The Kikuyu-led Kenya African Union (KAU), the first nationalist movement, was established. The Kikuyu had been the most politically organized group for over 20 years.
1947 Jomo Kenyatta returned to Kenya and became President of the KAU. Rising population, land shortages, erosion, urban unemployment, and increasing discontent with white settlers' "apartheid" attitude had led many Africans to increase anti-colonial nationalistic activities.
1952 - 1956 A terrorist campaign was launched by the Mau Mau, a secret society consisting primarily of Kikuyu. It was both a civil war among the Kikuyu and a challenge to colonial authority. The British imposed a state of emergency and brutally suppressed the Mau Mau, killing about 13,000 Africans and relocating more than 100,000 Kikuyu under harsh conditions.
1953 KAU was banned and Kenyatta jailed for his alleged involvement in the Mau Mau rebellion.
1956 The Mau Mau uprising was defeated, but ultimately it helped bring about Kenyan independence in 1963.
1957 Africans members were elected to the legislative council on a limited franchise.
1960 The state of emergency imposed in 1952 was lifted. The British agreed to set a date for the transition to majority rule. The Kenya African National Union (KANU), a descendant of KAU, was formed. The KANU (led by Kenyatta, Oginga Odinga, and Tom Mboya) was formed by the country's two largest ethnic groups, the Kikuyu and Luo.
1961 Kenyatta was released from detention. The British were forced to introduce a new policy which allowed Africans to buy and farm the White Highlands. Kenya's first pre-independence general elections were held. The KANU defeated the Kenya African Democratic Union (KADU). The KADU (led by Masinde Muliro, Daniel arap Moi, and Ronald Ngala) represented smaller and less advantaged ethnic groups of the Great Rift Valley and coastal areas, including the Kalenjin. The KADU advocated Majimboism (regionalism in Swahili) which would create ethnic-based, semi-autonomous regions.
Dec 1, 1963 The constitution set up a multi-party system. Three political parties, the KANU, KADU, and the African People's Party (APP), contested the second general elections. The KANU won and Majimboism was abandoned.
Dec 12, 1963 Kenya became independent. Kenyatta became Prime Minister and began to consolidate his broad coalition by recruiting members from diverse ethnic groups and ideological factions.
Dec 1, 1964 The Republic of Kenya was declared and Kenyatta became President. He handpicked Oginga Odinga (from a radical faction of the KANU) as a Luo Vice President. A conflict within the KADU between Luhya and Kalenjin over the land in the Great Rift Valley took place. Kenyatta resolved the conflict in favor of the Kalenjin under the condition of the merger. Following the relatively voluntary dissolution of the KADU and the APP, the ruling KANU became the sole legal party and regional powers were abolished. The absorption of KADU reinforced the conservative faction in KANU. Between 1964 and 1978, President Kenyatta was twice re-elected and the Kikuyu disproportionally held political positions. The Kikuyu obtained large tracts of the fertile land in the process of the Africanization of the former White Highlands at the cost of other groups, including the Kalenjin. Many Kikuyu believed that they had suffered the most during the colonial period and therefore they should benefit the most from independence. In the meantime, the Kalenjin turned westward against the Luhya. After independence, Kenya continued as a stable state and its economic growth rate was 6.2 percent in the decade 1964-1974.
1966 The Kenya People's Union (KPU), led by Vice President Odinga (a Luo), was formed. The radical faction of KANU defected to the KPU. Subsequently, Daniel arap Moi, a Kalenjin and a former KADU leader, became Vice President.
1968 The constitution was amended to make the Vice President acting president in case of the president's death.
1969 Tom Mboya, the Luo secretary-general of KANU and the expected successor to Kenyatta, was assassinated. Ethnic violence between the Kikuyu and the Luo erupted. President Kenyatta banned the KPU and detained its leaders. Kenya became a de facto one-party state. Many Kenyans considered Kenyatta's repressive response as a means of consolidating the power of the KANU and the Kikuyu. Several Kikuyu political leaders were associated with a tribal organization called the Gikuyu/Kikuyu, Embu, Meru Association (GEMA) which was aiming to keep Kikuyu political hegemony. Despite the country's independence, land claims of communal pastoral groups such as the Maasai and Kalenjin who were evicted from the Rift Valley area during the colonial period were not accommodated. British settlers continued to own much of the fertile farmland. A land settlement scheme was established for those British settlers who wanted to sell their land. Encouraged and supported by Kenyatta, Kenyan squatter labor, particularly Kikuyu farmers, left the overpopulated Central Province and purchased land in the Rift Valley during the 1960s and 1970s.
1971 - 1980 Vice President Moi became the most visible non-Kikuyu politician.
1976 - 1977 GEMA failed to introduce a constitutional amendment to prevent non-Kikuyu Vice President Moi from succeeding Kenyatta.
Aug 1978 President Kenyatta died. Moi was sworn in as acting president. He disbanded all ethnic organizations, including GEMA.
Nov 3, 1978 Moi declared the Preservation of Public Security Act without ratification by the Kenya parliament. It instituted a state of emergency and led to the arrest of hundreds of political dissidents including university professors, students, and journalists.
Jul 1 - Dec 31, 1979 Moi became President in an election where several established politicians were rejected by the electorate. Moi chose Mwai Kibaki (a Kikuyu) as Vice President. At first, Moi attracted support from some Kikuyu and many Luhya. However, Moi soon followed the footsteps of his predecessor by disproportionately appointing Kalenjin to positions of power in his regime and by granting economic advantages to the Kalenjin. Accordingly, Moi's support base narrowed significantly.
1980 Moi's close friend, Charles Mugane Njonjo, Kenya's attorney general for 17 years, appointed himself minister of constitutional affairs.
1981 - 1982 Moi banned trade and professional unions and suppressed strikes and protests by doctors, bank employees, industrial workers, and students.
Jun 17, 1982 Kenya officially became a one-party (the KANU) state through a constitutional amendment engineered by Njonjo. To be eligible to vote, citizens were forced to pay to register as KANU members. For the candidate to qualify for the election, he had to be a life member of the KANU.
Aug 1, 1982 There was a coup attempt by disaffected soldiers, allegedly supported by Odinga and other Luo and Kikuyu politicians. Over 1,000 members of the armed forces were court-martialed, hundreds more were detained without trial, and some 80 university students were arrested.
Mar 1, 1984 - Mar 31, 1982 Kenyan officials in the Wajir township near the Somali border charged that government forces killed 300 members of the Degodia tribe over a five day period. Sugul Unshur and Abdi Sheik said the forces rounded up 5000 Degodia, held them five days without food or water, then after killing about 500, forced more than 1000 into the bush where they were missing and feared dead. The officials said they thought the massacre was punishment for the Degodia's alleged past links to Somali guerrillas. The forces were originally sent to the area to stop the Degodia and Ajuran clans from fighting over water and grazing rights. Both are pastoralists ethnically related to the Somalis. The Norwegian embassy confirmed that aid workers in the area reported similar charges to those of the Kenyan officials while the KANU government denied any massacre. (Facts on File, 3/16/1984) The Anti-slavery Society later confirmed that between 300-1400 Degodia were killed, some through burning or being hacked to death by security forces, while 7000 others were left destitute. At least 400 members of the security forces were involved. (Reuters, 8/21/1984) An underground political movement called Iriria (Somali for tribal confederation) was blamed for violence and banditry in some northeastern districts. The government denied that it was engaged in a campaign to eliminate Kenya's Somali minority en masse. (BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation), 3/29/1984)
1986 The Moi regime harassed family members of exiled politicians. After 1986, the country's political situation rapidly deteriorated. As political arrests continued, many university lecturers, journalists, students, and former parliament members went into exile. Moi accused a left-wing group, called Mwakenya (the Union of Nationalists to Liberate Kenya), of being run by fanatic socialists and, by 1987, arrested over 100 people connected to this movement. Mwakenya, allegedly consisting of Kikuyus and Luos, appeared to be an ethnic and ideological threat to Moi.
Jul 1986 Moi prohibited Kenyan journalists from reporting arrests and trials.
Jan 1 - Jun 30, 1988 Mwakenya was technically disbanded.
Feb 1988 As the sole KANU candidate, Moi began his third five-year term as President.
Mar 1, 1988 - Jun 30, 1989 Moi banned newspapers and magazines including Beyond, Financial Review, Development Agenda, and the Daily Nation.
Jul 1, 1988 - Jun 30, 1989 Trials and imprisonments of alleged dissidents continued. Those associated with the clandestine opposition movement Mwakenya, and two other unpublicized groups, the KRM and the Kenya Patriotic Front (KPF) were among those target.
Sep 1988 Seven months after being released from a six year prison term, Raila Odinga, the son of Oginga Odinga and the leader of the unpublicized Kenya Revolutionary Movement (KRM), was again detained.
Dec 1988 At least 40 Somali nationals were deported from Kenya. Authorities said they had decided to deport aliens suspected of poaching in national parks. Somali bandits in the national parks are known as shiftas (BBC, 12/20/1988)
Jun 1989 In response to international pressure, Moi released all political prisoners who were being detained without trial and offered amnesty to dissidents living in exile.
Aug 1989 Somali rebels seized a major crossing point to Kenya while some 6000 Somalis camped on the border. (Reuters, 8/16/1989)
Nov 1989 More than 350 Somalis crossed the border into Tanzania after Kenya started a nation-wide screening of the Somalis community. The government announced that all Somalis over age 18, whether Kenyan citizens or not, would have to appear before a special screening team to verify their right to be in the country. (Xinhua, 11/13/1989) The Tanzanian government later said it would expel the Somalis. There is a significant Somali community in East Africa, but most of them do not have the proper immigration documents to legalize their stay in Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda. (Xinhua, 12/5/1989 and12/11/1989)
1990 Moi resisted growing demands for a multi-party system, threatening that multipartyism would revive inter-tribal violence.
Feb 10, 1990 The Kenyan government said it would repatriate more than 400 Somalis living illegally in the country. (Xinhua 2/10/1990) Somalis continue to flee Kenya citing discrimination and persecution (Inter Press Service (IPS (Interpress Service)), 3/16/1990)
Feb 13, 1990 The murder of Robert Ouko, a former foreign minister who had criticized the Moi regime, provoked widespread anti-government protests by students claiming that the government covered up the circumstances of his death. The government banned demonstrations.
Jul 1990 Two leading opposition figures were arrested and 20 people died in subsequent protests. President Moi continued to oppose political reform. By 1990, most key positions in the government, the military, and state-owned companies were taken by the Kalenjin.
Jul 7, 1990 Security forces brutally dispersed the pro-multipartyism rally at Kamakunji, Nairobi, led by the Law Society of Kenya and the churches. It was attended by thousands of supporters and triggered three days of rioting known as the Saba Saba (meaning seven seven, i.e., July 7) uprising.
Feb 1991 Garissa District Officer Peter Baraz Kusimba warned against anyone found housing Somali refugees. He said the refugees would stay at Garissa Baraza Park where they would be registered with the UNHCR.
Mar 1991 The Kenyan Red Cross decided to increase its aid to Somali and Ethiopian refugees, currently numbering more than 29,000, in the country. Refugees were arriving at a daily rate of about 200. (BBC, 3/16/1991) The UNHCR agreed to investigate the causes of complaints by some Somali refugees in Mombasa. (Xinhua, 3/18/1991)
May 1991 Police in Garissa launched a crackdown on local residents housing illegal immigrants. At least 110 residents were arrested and police said they would be charged with criminal offenses and the refugees would be sent to designated refugee camps. (BBC, 5/8/1991) The move to round up hundreds of refugees not confined to camps continued into June.
Jul 1991 An Africa Rights Watch report stated that abuses in Kenya included violence in the northeast, discrimination against Somalis, and ill treatment of refugees. (IPS, 7/30/1991) The U.S. State Department's Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 1991 also stated that discrimination against Somalis was a major concern. It is the only ethnic group in Kenya whose members are required to carry identification stating they are Kenyan citizens.
Aug 1991 Odinga and other opposition leaders established a coalition group called the Forum for the Restoration of Democracy (FORD), calling for greater political pluralism. The government broke up their demonstrations and arrested their leaders.
Nov 1991 The suspension of aid by the World Bank and bilateral donor nations pending economic and political reforms forced Moi to announce the introduction of a multi-party system in Kenya.
Dec 1991 The Kenyan parliament repealed Section 2(A) of the Constitution which prohibited opposition parties. Tribal fighting, tacitly encouraged by the Moi government, spread to large parts of the Rift Valley, Western, and Nyanza areas. The Luhya, Kikuyu, and Kisii were greatly affected, but the Kalenjin were also victimized in retaliatory attacks by the Luhya, Luo and Kikuyu.
Mar 1992 Reports of ethnic violence become commonplace in the press. The Kalenjin Assistant Minister Kipkalia Kones declared Kericho District a KANU zone and stated that the Kalenjin youth in the area had declared war on the Luo community in retaliation for several Kalenjins killed in earlier violence. The government accused the opposition parties of fueling the violence through Libyan-trained recruits and opposition leaders accused the government of orchestrating ethnic violence in order to weaken moves towards multipartyism. Moi prohibited all political rallies, citing the threat of tribal violence.
May 1992 Northeastern Kenya, populated mainly by pastoralists including Somalis, was hard hit by drought. Aid agencies reported that a million people were threatened with starvation while a large number had already died. The situation in the northeast has been exacerbated by the influx of Somali and Ethiopian refugees. (IPS, 5/21/1992) The government issued a statement denying that hundreds of thousands of Kenyans were dying of starvation in the northeast. The government said relief workers were active in the area. (BBC, 5/29/1992)
Jun 1992 The World Food Program began airlifting emergency food relief to northeastern Kenya. Moi had appealed to international donors to provide food aid for a million Kenyans and 400,000, 300,000 of whom are Somalis, refugees in the area facing starvation. (Xinhua, 6/12/1992)
Jul 1 - Aug 31, 1992 The government and international relief agencies were concerned over insecurity in refugee camps. In July, Medicins sans Frontieres withdrew from the northeast, and there have been attacks by bandits on food supplies, aid workers, and police. (BBC, 7/23/1992 and 8/1/1992)
Sep 1992 According to a parliamentary committee report, senior government officials had been involved in training and arming Kalenjin warriors to attack villages and drive away non-Kalenjin ethnic groups from the Rift Valley, Western, and Nyanza Provinces.
Oct 1992 The UNHCR began voluntarily repatriating Somali refugees in Kenya. (Reuters, 10/19/1992)
Dec 29, 1992 Moi and the KANU retained power with only 36% of the popular vote in the country's first multi-party elections since independence. Division was apparent within the three major opposition parties, the Forum for the Restoration of Democracy-Kenya (FORD-K), the Forum for the Restoration of Democracy-Asili (FORD-A), and the Democratic Party (DP). Ford-A and Ford-K were split from the original FORD coalition, contributing to the victory of the KANU. The opposition alleged the elections had been rigged and fraudulent. Thousands of Kenyans were unable to vote as a result of the displacement and destruction caused by the pre-election ethnic fighting.
Jan 1993 UNHCR representative Panos Moumtzi said the commission is concerned over the government's apparent desire to forcefully repatriate refugees. A statement coming from President Moi's office called on the UNHCR to immediately repatriate all refugees in Kenya, but Moumtzi said the UNHCR would not be party to any forced repatriations. (BBC, 1/22/1993)
1993 The violence in the Rift Valley continued unabated throughout 1993. The Uasin Gishu, Trans Nzoia, Bungoma, and Nakuru Districts were the most affected. Fighting in the Burnt Forest area in Uasin Gishu pitted the Kalenjin against the Kikuyu community.
Jan 4, 1993 Moi began his fourth successive term in office. Moi's Kalenjin group and that of Vice-President George Saitoti's Maasai dominated the 25 member cabinet while the Kikuyu and Luo have been given one representative each in the cabinet.
Oct 1, 1993 The UNHCR was seeking funds for Somali women who had been raped while in Kenyan refugee camps. Most were raped by roaming bandits, but some had been raped by Kenyan security forces. (Agence France Presse (AFP), 10/4/1993)
Jan 1994 New violence occurred in the Rift Valley area, destroying the property of some 4,000 persons. Ten people are reported killed.
Aug 1994 Poor rains in the East for the third straight year will bring hunger to the region bordering Somalia. During the past three years of fighting, food production has been disrupted because of the displacement of Kikuyu who were primarily farmers.
Sep 1994 Of the 250,000-300,000 displaced from the Rift Valley Province since 1991, 175,000 remain displaced.
Oct 1994 The government was in the process of closing all refugee camps in Coast Province and relocating refugees to the north because the camps were threatening Kenya's tourist industry. Eighty percent of Kenya's 280,000 remaining refugees are Somalis (BBC, 10/7/1994) The government also assured the UNHCR that refugees would not be forcefully repatriated, but wanted the pace of voluntary repatriation to be stepped up. (BBC, 11/24/1994)
Jan 1995 An Amnesty International report Attacks on Human Rights Through the Misuse of Criminal Charges was published. In it, Kenya was criticized for its human rights abuses and lack of commitment to democratic reform. The report states, although opposition political parties operate openly and freely, opposition members of parliament, human rights activists, journalists and other government critics have been arrested in connection with peaceful demonstrations, speeches, publications or investigations into human rights abuses. A new development in Kenya was the government's decision to use capital criminal charges (which are not bailable) against people whose only offense is that they are non-violent critics of the Kenyan government. AI holds up the trial of Koigi Wamwere as a case in point. AI considers him and his fellow detainees to be prisoners of conscience arrested on trumped up charges and imprisoned for their non-violent beliefs.
Jan 19, 1995 The European Community allocated 170,000 ecu to aid a group of Kenyan Somalis who had lost all their livestock to drought prevalent in the northeast since 1992. The pastoralists fled their traditional land because of the drought and ethnic conflict in the region. (Commission of the European Communities)
Jun 20, 1995 Richard Leakey, a white paleontologist, registered a new opposition party, called the SAFINA, in order to forge a national alliance capable of challenging President Moi. Moi immediately went on the offensive against Leakey, denouncing him a foreigner, traitor, and atheist who would find it "extremely difficult to relate to God-fearing Kenyans" and vowing that "Kenya would never again be ruled by a white man." Leakey served as the Moi-appointed director at the Kenya Wildlife Service from 1989 to 1994.
Jul 1995 Human Rights Watch published Old Habits Die Hard: Rights Abuses Follow Renewed Foreign Aid Commitments. HRW reported that since the renewal of aid commitments in 1994 ($800 million in aid was pledged to Kenya by foreign donors at a December 1994 meeting), human rights conditions in Kenya had deteriorated. The report found that resettlement of refugees in Kenya by the government and UNDP was failing; the government banned organizations and the media in 1995; there were attacks against human rights organizations and media offices; there were numerous complaints by opposition members that their meetings were disrupted by police or local authorities and that they were denied permits to hold meetings; and that from January-March 1995 there were arrests and/or detentions of about a dozen opposition MPs. In addition, the report states, multipartyism has not been accompanied by the requisite institutional and legal reform essential to genuine democratization.
Dec 15, 1995 The ruling KANU party outlined a five-point strategy aimed at strengthening the party in preparation for the upcoming 1997 elections. It will launch a national youth development program to coordinate and mobilize youth while assisting them in project identification. Party spokesman Taikwen Kamotho issued a stern warning to leaders who engage in tribal talks saying the party will no longer tolerate leaders who engage in tribal comments.
Jan 1996 There were several reported incidents of ethnic violence. Violence was reported January 6 in Thessalia, a camp for displaced persons and January 11 in Longonot where 10 people were killed. In addition, displaced persons from Maela camp who were forcibly dispersed by the government in December 1994 were again forcibly moved by the district administrator. Those remaining in the camp were subjected to nightly attacks by administrative police.
Feb 1996 The introduction of new identity cards has led to fears that the government might be planning to rig the 1997 election. Voters must identify their ancestral constituency on the application form rather than their current place of residence which has analysts speculating that voters might have to vote in their place of birth which would be impossible for many. The Electoral Commission, whose members are presidential appointees, has also recently created new districts and constituencies along ethnic lines . The police continue to harass refugees, even those with legitimate papers, in constant crackdowns against foreigners. (IPS, 2/21/1996)
Mar 27 - 28, 1996 About 40 local and international NGOs based in Kenya, individuals and religious bodies' representatives met to discuss the situation of peace in Kenya. The meeting was an outgrowth of Peace Net, founded in September 1993 as the Ethnic Clashes Network, as a response to ethnic violence. The leaders expressed their fear of renewed clashes, concern over the culture of violence taking over the country, and the need for concerted effort to restore peace and stability to Kenya. They warned that the level of violence-political and otherwise-appears to escalate as we approach the 1997 election year.
Apr 9, 1996 KANU parliamentarian Kipruto arap Kirwa, who launched a verbal attack against President Moi two weeks ago, has disappeared fueling suspicions that he has been arrested for his outspokenness. Kirwa had accused Moi of stifling alternative views in KANU and of being undemocratic. Dissatisfaction within the Kalenjin community has been most evident among the Nandi, the sub-group to which Kirwa belongs, but other members of the KANU alliance have also shown their impatience with Moi.
Apr 10, 1996 Police assaulted voters who turned out at a by-election in the Nairobi constituency of Starehe. The opposition claimed it was an attempt to intimidate supporters in an anti-KANU stronghold.
Sep 29, 1996 Opposition and religious leaders are calling for a new constitution that will change the electoral system. KANU officials flatly refused to consider changing the electoral rules, much less replacing the constitution. For the past 15 months, Moi has refused to register Safina as a political party.
Dec 6, 1996 According to police spokesmen, more than 50 people were killed in northwestern Kenya when Samburu and Pokot tribesmen armed with rifles attacked Turkana settlements.
Jan 20, 1997 Moi told police to deal swiftly and firmly with criminal activities, especially the rampant armed robberies and cattle rustling currently troubling the nation. He urged police to be extra alert to avoid the kind of violence witnessed during the run-up to the 1992 elections.
Feb 1997 The State Department's Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 1996 stated that, though the human rights situation improved slightly over 1995, Kenya is far from a champion of human rights. The government of Daniel arap Moi continued to harass and jail critics, including politicians, clergy, journalists and activists, of his government. It also continued to block access of the opposition to their supporters and the media. Though there were few reports of ethnic violence in 1996, the government had not yet addresses the root causes of the 1991-1994 violence in the Rift Valley Province and governmental discrimination against Kikuyus in the Province continued. The government has also warned white Kenyans against participating in political activities and it has singled out Somalis as the only group that must carry two identity cards to produce upon request. The continued presence of Somali refugees has increased the difficulties faced by Kenyan Somalis. There is also societal and official discrimination against Asian Kenyans.
Apr 1997 The World Food Program extended its aid to refugees in northern Kenya. More than half the refugees who had fled to Kenya since 1991 had returned home. The majority of Somali refugees were located in the Dadaab area camps in Garissa district.
Jun 11, 1997 Calls for a constitutional convention have revitalized the middle class who are weary of the declining economy and rampant corruption within Moi's regime. The question for the country is whether the opposition can unite and turn this issue into the main issue of the upcoming presidential elections. Reformers have been pushing for an amendment which would require the winner to gain a majority of votes cast rather than the current system of a quarter of votes in only 5 of 8 districts. The opposition is also pushing for the constitution to allow for a coalition government instead of the current winner-take-all system.
Jul 7, 1997 Police cracked down on pro-democracy demonstrators killing at least nine across the nation (other reports estimated up to 15 killed). The international response was muted.
Jul 26, 1997 The National Convention Executive Committee (NCEC), a coalition of opposition groups which first made its appearance on the political scene in May, is demanding that electoral rules favoring the president be changed. They demand an independent electoral commission, a repeal of repressive laws, abolishing the requirement for the president to get 25% of the vote in 5 of 8 provinces replacing this with a requirement to get at least 50% of the national vote.
Jul 31, 1997 The IMF announced that it was suspending a $205 million loan to Kenya because of the government's failure to provide proper transparency and accountability.
Sep 20, 1997 The government announced it would mobilize up to 20,000 police in a crackdown in the Coastal region. Over the past five weeks, at least 62 people have died and 73 been injured in the violence. The violence is aimed mainly at upcountry people. Reports indicate that marauding gangs are perpetrating the violence, but there is no indication from which ethnic group they originate-only that they are indigenous coastal people.
Nov 1997 Flooding in the northeast has turned refugee camps in Dadaab into islands with virtually no access. There are fears that starvation and disease in the camps are on the horizon. (BBC, 11/25/1997) The World Food Program began food airdrops to the islands in December. (Xinhua, 12/24/1997)
Dec 31, 1997 Election results indicated that Moi won the presidency with about 40% of the vote. Kibaki of the Democratic Party gained 30% of the vote, and Odinga of FORD-Kenya received about 11%. KANU maintained a small majority in parliament with 106 of 210 seats. The DP won 39 seats, the National Development Party 21, and the Social Democratic Party 14. Most observers noted electoral violence and irregularities, including bribing and intimidation of voters, and bias of presiding and returning election officers. Opposition groups protested that outright fraud, including vote-rigging, took place.
Jan 8, 1998 DP chairman Mwai Kibaki said he would use the courts to challenge Moi's election victory. He said vote-rigging occurred throughout Kenya, but there were glaring violations in the Coast and northeastern provinces.
Mar 1998 Supplies for refugees have been dwindling, and food rations had to be cut in half. There is limited funding available, and the roads to refugee camps in the northeast were still impassable since November flooding.(ANS (African News Service), 3/17/1998)
Dec 1998 Moi ordered police to crack down on illegal immigrants in Kenya. Over five hundred were arrested, and many complained of abuse, including rape and extortion, while in custody. (ANS, 12/6/1998)
Feb 1999 Somalis are one of about a dozen groups of pastoralists in Kenya. The pastoralists are concerned that the constitutional review process will not adequately and effectively address their needs. They would like remedial developmental measures to allow them to catch up with the rest of the country, as well as improvements in health care, educational opportunities, more watering holes, and land rights. (ANS, 2/23/1999) Somalis are also concerned that they are demonized by the government as bandits behind cattle rustling and other criminal activity in the north.
Jun 1999 More than 300 Somalis crossed into Kenya in search of asylum. They were fleeing fighting in the town of Kismaayo and drought in Somalia. (IRIN (integrated regional information network), 6/28/1999)

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