Business & Governance

The Kenyan private sector's role in mass atrocity prevention, cessation, and recovery

Author(s): Victor Odundo Owuor, Patrick Obath
Date: November 4, 2016
Publication Type: Book Chapter
Keywords:

Overview:

There are numerous examples of ways in which the business sector has been and continues to be involved in activities that lead to mass atrocity crimes. These include instances such as when business cooperates with abusive state security services to violently suppress dissent, telecommunication companies allow dissemination of hate messages on their platforms, and firms deal with conflict minerals. However, the reverse – in which businesses (especially business associations and other formal or informal business collectives) are actively engaged in steps towards the prevention, cessation and recovery from atrocities – is not as well known. This chapter provides a concrete example of how business can be gainfully involved in activities that mitigate the effects of atrocities. The chapter is based on Kenya’s private sector activities following the 2008 post-election violence on a scale unprecedented in the history of this East African nation. The chapter describes interventions by the private sector in the resolution of violence, including motivations behind the participation and lessons learned from the involvement – much of which has not previously been documented.

Key Findings:

The success of Kenya’s private sector involvement in atrocity prevention, cessation and recovery was mainly achieved through the initiatives of the umbrella business body, Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA).  The four principal reasons why this umbrella organization was so impactful are:

  • KEPSA was viewed as an organization with high integrity and transparency – a rare and much-admired trait in a country grappling with high corruption levels.
  • KEPSA’s advocacy platform is non-partisan and non-confrontational. This approach created a strong bond of trust with all its stakeholders.
  • Because notable political actors had business interests, they shared the same concerns as KEPSA. The ensuing participation of key political actors in KEPSA’s deliberations permitted a commonality of messaging, particularly in media campaigns pursuing peaceful outcomes.
  • Private sector contribution to conflict prevention is considerably enhanced when the umbrella body representing business interests works in a coordinated manner with other spheres of society.

Related Publications

FDI and Stability Somalia

Investing in Stability: The Case for Somalia

One Earth Future Written by One Earth Future on August 21, 2014

Research by Victor Odundo Owuor published as “Investing in Stability: The Case for Somalia” in the Business, Peace and Susta

Read more
Re Balancing the G-20

Re-Balancing the G-20 From Efficiency to Legitimacy

One Earth Future Written by One Earth Future on July 7, 2014

Research by Professors Andrew F.

Read more
Private Sector Peacebuilding Kenya

The Role of Kenya's Private Sector in Peacebuilding

Written by Victor Odundo Owuor, Scott Wiser on June 10, 2014

A comprehensive review of the range of activities undertaken by the private sector before, during, and immediately after the 2013 elections is the subject of a research report by Victor Owuor and Scott Wisor.This policy brief discusses key

Read more
R2PK Cover

The Role of Kenya's Private Sector in Peacebuilding: The Case of the 2013 Election Cycle

Written by Victor Odundo Owuor, Scott Wisor on June 9, 2014

Following the disputed presidential election results in 2007- 08, widespread violence engulfed Kenya, killing over one thousand people and displacing hundreds of thousands. One in three Kenyans were directly affected by the violence.

Read more
Business Participation in the Responsibility to Protect

Business Participation in the Responsibility to Protect

Written by Conor Seyle on April 26, 2013

Past research on business engagement with human rights, peace, and security has identified specific reasons why national and transnational companies may be interested in participating, as well as how they have contributed to protecting human rights

Read more
Banking System in Somalia

Somalia Banking: Transfers, Challenges and Opportunities

Written by Victor Odundo Owuor on January 5, 2013

This paper discusses the challenges and opportunities of the banking segment in Somalia. It reviews current systems for financial transfers and discusses the possibility of the introduction of a two-tier banking system.

Read more
Wind Energy in Somalia

Wind Energy in Somalia

Written by Victor Odundo Owuor on October 5, 2012

Somalia’s difficult history has hampered the development of infrastructure that could support growth and improve lives. The energy sector has been particularly hard hit.

Read more
Honey Production Somalia

A Market Analysis for Honey Production in Somalia

Written by Victor Odundo Owuor on October 5, 2012

This market analysis identifies factors influencing the profitability of the honey industry in Somalia, using a framework for analysis based on Michael Porter’s “five forces model” with the introduction of a sixth set of forces comprising complements

Read more

Pages