African Journal of
Political Science and International Relations

  • Abbreviation: Afr. J. Pol. Sci. Int. Relat.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1996-0832
  • DOI: 10.5897/AJPSIR
  • Start Year: 2007
  • Published Articles: 382

Full Length Research Paper

Is forgiveness and amnesty a panacea to Kenya’s post-conflict crisis?

Nasongo, J. W.1, Achoka, J. S. K.2 and Wamocha L. L. M.3*
1Chairman, Educational Foundations Department, Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology, P. O. Box 190 – 50100, Kakamega, Kenya. 2Chairman, Educational Planning And Management Department, Masinde Muliro University Of Science And Technology, P. O. BOX 190 – 50100, Kakamega, Kenya. 3Department of Educational Planning And Management, Masinde Muliro University Of Science And Technology, P. O. BOX 190-50100, Kakamega, Kenya.      
Email: [email protected]

  •  Accepted: 12 March 2009
  •  Published: 30 April 2009


For a long period, Kenya was rightfully branded “Island of Peace” in the tumultant Eastern Africa Region. After the December, 2007 General Elections, the country plunged into civil war and rebellion especially in the region west of the great rift valley. Provinces located in the region: Rift Valley, Nyanza and Western witnessed: murder, looting, eviction, rape, arson, burning of food and food stores, destruction of homes, animals and crops, emotional harassment and other kinds of human abuse. Most survivors ended up in concentration camps for Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs). Effects of what happened between December 2007 and February 2008 were felt not only in the whole of Kenya but the entire Eastern Africa Region and beyond. At the intervention of the United Nations Organization through their previous and current secretaries, Dr. Kofi Anan and Dr. Ban Ki Moon respectively, a peace accord between the warring camps: Party of National Unity (PNU) and Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) was signed. Although many IDPs have been resettled, the talk of the day in Kenya is Forgiveness for peace building to enhance acceptance. Forgiveness is most associated with religious faiths. Within the secular realm, the term amnesty obtains. Regardless of whether we opt for forgiveness or amnesty, various challenges are anticipated. This paper attempts to provide an understanding of the post-election violence in Kenya with a view to find ways to contribute to the peace building challenge. The paper is divided into seven parts. The first part deals with the concept of peace followed in the second part by an elucidation of some peace theories. Importantly, each theory provides a basis upon which critical reflection and observation regarding the post-election violence in Kenya are made. The third portion of the paper deals with some vivid causes of the violence. This diagnosis is logically followed by the fourth part which addresses the role of the church in enhancing forgiveness and neighbourly love as a panacea for peace. In the fifth section, a discussion on the amnesty dilemma is undertaken followed by the sixth section containing conclusions to the discussions. The seventh section contains suggestions on the way forward. It is recommended that the grand-coalition government should encourage forgiveness and reconciliation among all Kenyans in order to attain lasting peace.


Key words: Conflict, peace building, forgiveness, amnesty.