Ethnopolitical Violence, Transitional Justice and Peacebuilding in Kenya: Nurturing a Tripartite Hybridity
Morality, trust, social ties, shared institutions, and social capital are in short supply after ethnic wars: ethnic identity is prominent; attachment to collective myths and symbols offensive to other groups is strong; avoidance is legitimate; minority returnees are not welcome; and disputants harbor deep-seated grievances. How can peace and a culture of tolerance be nurtured in such a social milieu? (Oberschall, 2007:231). The statement above represents the challenge of this research. Studies indicate that African conflicts are rooted in complex constructions and conjectures of the continent’s political economies, social identities, and cultural ecologies, each of which is derived out of local, national, and regional historical experiences and patterns of engagement with an ever changing world system (Nhema and Zeleza, 2008). These conflicts threaten regional stability, destroy human lives, as well as social and physical infrastructure and place at risk, minorities’ fundamental freedoms and human rights. Such precarity calls for timely and informed interventions to mitigate conflict protraction and virulence. Studies indicate that a civic culture of tolerance and respect for minorities is not conceivable without truth and justice in human affairs (Oberschall, 2007). Therefore, the proliferation of intrastate conflicts around the world has led to the emergence of transitional justice mechanisms which respond to legacies of collective violence and systematic human rights violations in a bid to establish the truth about the past, determine accountability, and offer some form of redress (Van Der Merwe, et al., 2009). This study investigates the perception and/or experiences of the respondents about ethnopolitical violence, transitional justice, and peacebuilding in Kenya. Kenyan ethnopolitical challenge led to the formation of the Truth Justice and Reconciliation Commission of Kenya (TJRC) and the interventionism of the International Criminal Court (ICC) both of which are highly critiqued by a section of Kenyans for their inadequacy to address the Kenyan problem (Rugene, 2010; Barasa, 2009; Omtata, 2010). Indigenous approaches to peacebuilding which are thought to be complimentary forces to the ICC and TJRC have their merits and demerits too. This study indicates that neither the dualistic model of TJRC and the ICC nor the Tripartite Hybridity of TJRC, ICC, and Indigenous approaches to peacebuilding is adequate enough in facilitating transitional justice in Kenya. To complement the gaps of the dualistic and tripartite approaches, this study has come up with an experience-based grounded model for transitional justice, peacebuilding and conflict resolution in Kenya informed by the expressed needs and the recommendations of the study participants. Apart from having the tripartite hybridity of TJRC, ICC, and Indigenous Approaches to peacebuilding, the new model emphasizes the importance of implementing institutional and policy frameworks that would address historical injustices and structural violence ingrained in the Kenyan system in order to mitigate ethnopolitical violence in the future. If well implemented, the new Kenyan model namely The JET LINERS-RIGS Grounded Approach for Peacebuilding and Conflict Resolution is expected to nurture sustainable peacebuilding, conflict resolution, and transitional justice in Kenya.