Transitional justice and democratisation nexus: Challenges of confronting legacies of past injustices and promoting reconciliation within weak institutions in Kenya

  • Ibrahim Magara


Following the post-election violence (PEV) of 2007–8, which almost jettisoned the country into civil war, Kenya put in place a number of transitional justice mechanisms, such as truth telling, as a peacebuilding strategy. One of the major recommendations of Kenya’s Truth, Justice, and Reconciliation Commission (TJRC) is the creation of institutions and mechanisms for peacebuilding, reconciliation, and early warning with a view towards harmonising their activities and adopting a coordinated approach. This article explicates the centrality of democratic institutional reforms in the process of reconciliation, peacebuilding, and long-term stability. In tackling the notion of national reconciliation as a central pillar in post-conf lict recovery and peacebuilding, this paper proposes that reconciliation happens within strong and properly functioning institutions of governance that are supportive of transitional justice mechanisms. Based on the transitional justice process in Kenya and building upon a view of reconciliation as a process, rather than an end, this paper argues that strengthening institutions that function within governance structures will go a long way towards placing Kenya on the path to reconciliation, national cohesion, and long term stability.


Keywords: Kenya, transitional justice, democratisation, reconciliation, institutional reforms, TJRC


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eISSN: 1562-6997