Despite its regional power status, Kenya has been unable to sufficiently marshal its enormous human and material resources to achieve a lasting political stability, economic growth and sustainable development. Since independence, the country has witnessed an extensive and disturbing history of politically motivated killings and assassinations. The Kenyatta, Moi and Kibaki states have presided over shocking and sometimes brutally effective records of inhumane laws, harassment, imprisonment, torture, and other forms of oppression to terrorise, silence or otherwise neutralise those in opposition to the establishment. Sadly, while such state-perpetrated atrocities have been committed against citizens, there has never been any form of official acknowledgement or even apology. It is against this background that a Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission (TJRC) was established in Kenya and yet failed to implement its report to the public. This talk therefore, is an attempt to examine a history of political assassinations in Kenya considering that assassination is chillingly effective as a political tool, and is certainly immensely compelling as an idea that must be explored within the context of the politics of history and memory in Kenyan historiography.

In a lecture given at the University of Auckland, Babere Kerata Chacha discusses the history of political assassination in Kenya between 1963 and 2017.

Babere Kerata Chacha is a Senior Lecturer in African History in the Department of Public Affairs and Environmental Studies at Laikipia University in Kenya. He is currently the director of External Linkages and the founder an coordinator of the Centre for Human Rights at Egerton University. His main research interest is in political assassinations and human rights, but he also has wide interests in environment, terrorism, reconciliation, religion, and sexuality. He consulted with the TJRC in Kenya on political assassinations, and spearheaded the launch of the political science programme and the study of human rights as a common core course at Laikipia University.

This talk formed part of the Politics and International Relations Seminar Series at the University of Auckland.


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Disclaimer: The ideas expressed in this lecture reflect the views of the lecturer and not necessarily the views of The Big Q.