Reducing Armed Conflict Across Kenya
Year(s): 2001 – present.
UN Regional Group: Africa.
Type of Conflict: Risk of a Conflict Relapse, Risk of a Horizontal (non-state) Intrastate Conflict, Risk of a Vertical (state-based) Intrastate Conflict.
Type of Initiative: Peace Infrastructure.
Main Implementing Organisation(s): The Government of Kenya, local people and organisations.
Summary: The development of an effective peace infrastructure helped to reduce armed conflict across Kenya and limit the risk of electoral violence.
Description of Case
Following the success of the Wajir Peace and Development Committee in Wajir, local governments established similar organisations in collaboration with civil society groups across northern Kenya. Recognising the need for an institutional framework to coordinate and consolidate the various initiatives, the Government of Kenya established the National Steering Council (NSC) as an interdepartmental government agency in 2001. The 2007-2008 electoral violence revealed that the parts of Kenya with functional peace committees experienced considerably less conflict than those areas where no such infrastructure was in place. In response, the Kenyan government established another agency, the National Cohesion and Integration Commission, and expanded the committees (sometimes referred to as Nakuru Peace Committees) and structures to 150 new Kenyan districts, with an initial focus on the Rift Valley – a region that experienced the most upheaval in 2007-2008. In 2011, the NSC published a revised conflict management policy which outlined a comprehensive infrastructure for reducing armed in Kenya with plans for a National Peace Council supported by a permanent secretariat that would coordinate the efforts of regional and county-level peace councils, local peace committees, and a mediation support unit. These organisations were tasked with hosting peace fora, maintaining peace committees, liaising with the media, conducting conflict analysis, and supporting the National Conflict Early Warning and Response platform. Parts of this infrastructure was already in place in some areas of the country and was developed in others, but it was not until 2015 that the Kenyan parliament formally adopted the NSC’s conflict management policy.
The emergence of the national peace infrastructure in Kenya has met with demonstrable success. A 2010 referendum and the 2013 elections went ahead peacefully, with UN Development Programme assessments highlighting the contributions of the local peace committees. In addition to reducing electoral violence, the peace infrastructure also prevents and ends relatively low-intensity conflicts between communities in Kenya: In 2011, the Mabanga Peace Conference resulted in a comprehensive peace agreement between the Babukusu, Iteso, and Sabaot in Bungoma; the following year, peace was made between the Agikuyu and Kalenjin; in 2016, the Nanyuki Peace Agreement was mediated between the Aulian and Borana in Isiolo County; and in 2018, talks in Nakuru resulted in a peace agreement between the Luo and Nandi.
 National Cohesion and Integration Commission. Footprints of Peace: Consolidating National Cohesion in a Devolved Kenya, 2014-2018. (NCIC, 2018) pp.1-2
 National Steering Committee on Peace Building and Conflict Management. Our Work: National Peace Coordination. (NSC, 2021) Available at: https://www.nscpeace.go.ke/work/national-peace-coordination (Accessed 23/11/2021)
 Maria Osula. “Finally! A peace policy for Kenya.” Saferworld Comment and Analysis. (4 November 2015) Available at: https://www.saferworld.org.uk/resources/news-and-analysis/post/174-finally-a-peace-policy-for-kenya (Accessed 23/11/2021)
 John Makokha & Grace Miano. UNDP CPAP Outcome Evaluation 2012: Ken Outcome 49 – Effectiveness of Emergency Response and Early Recovery. (UNDP, 2012) p.29
 Mabanga Peace Accord, 2011. Available at: https://www.peaceagreements.org/view/1947/Mabanga%20Peace%20Accord (Accessed 23/11/2021); Nakuru County Peace Accord, 2012. Available at: https://www.peaceagreements.org/view/785/Nakuru%20County%20Peace%20Accord (Accessed 23/11/2021); Nanyuki Peace Agreement between the Aulian Community of Garissa County and Borana Community of Isiolo County, 2016. Available at: https://www.peaceagreements.org/view/1920/ (Accessed 23/11/2021); Resolutions of the Nakuru Peace Agreement between the Luo and Nandi Communities of Kisumu and Nandi Counties attended by National and County Government Officials held at Water Buck Hotel, Nakuru, 2018. Available at: https://www.peaceagreements.org/viewmasterdocument/2101