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Political Conflict, Business & Governance

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

Author(s): Victor Odundo Owuor, Scott Wisor
Date: June 9, 2014
Publication Type: Research Report
Research Topics: Political Conflict, Business & Governance

Overview:

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. In 2013, independent observers feared that new elections might produce similar or worse violence. The elections were held, and despite disputes over the final tallies and problems with the polling systems that had recently been put in place, the elections were the most peaceful in Kenya’s history. In part, this is due to the efforts of the Kenyan private sector and its work developing a sustained, systematic, and comprehensive peacebuilding campaign that has not previously been documented.

Key Findings:

The Kenyan business community played an essential part in facilitating peaceful elections in 2013, offering a blueprint for preventing future electoral violence.

The report does the following:

  • Identifies the private sector as a politically neutral actor that was an influential resource in preventing election cycle violence;
  • Demonstrates how the potential impact of violence motivated the private sector to take action on conflict-prevention activities; 
  • Finds that the power of the private sector is enhanced when it acts in a collective and coordinated fashion, and when it works with other spheres of society.

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