Summary division in Kenya politics is largely





Kenya like any other
developed country in Africa has a long history of political violence, marred by
assassinations and state financed repression (Kenya Truth and justice
Reconciliation commission 2009).

Kenya is finding it
increasingly difficult and almost failing in its task to manage the plethora of
post-election fierceness since its independence in 1963. It presents different
dangers that undermines democracy, economic progress and has sparked deadly
outrage. The post-election violence of 2007 lead to the deaths of 1200 people
and over 400,000 displaced and thousands of dollars in property losses (Daily
Nation 2008).

I will critically assess
the value of victims and limitations of interviewing as a research

method during
post-election violence and challenges that victims go through. My discussion is
focused on methodological issues associated with the use of interviews during
post-election violence as a research. I will review the literature concerning
post-election violence in Kenya and summarize ethical issues concerning the use
of interviews before drafting a conclusion.





Literature review.

The division in Kenya
politics is largely along the ethnic lines. The series of violent outbursts in
many regions are based on opposition strongholds. Following the declaration of
the 2007 election results, the violence lasted for close to two months (Burchard,
S.M 2008). The unrest involved disagreements between two ethnic groups of the
two main presidential candidates.  Former
president Mwai Kibaki, of the Kikuyu tribe, and former prime minister Raila Odinga
of the Luo tribe. After Kibaki was declared president, members of the opposing Luo
tribe launched demonstrations and attacks targeting the Kikuyus tribe.  Slums were the first places affected by the outrage,
thousands of Kikuyu members were displaced. The root of the deadly presidential
political violence today dates back to land disputes and promises made by
previous leaders to supporters. It was a period where the most powerful took all.  Powerful groups dominated the weaker ones and
appropriated resources particularly farm lands. 
This system of economic relationship endured colonial times, but the
perceived injustices and deprivations manifested themselves in recurring cycles
of violence throughout the country. Economic and business practices from years
past persist today and continue to deprive many communities.  Much of the organized violence in the Rift Valley
province stemmed from the land dispute because Rift Valley was occupied by Kalenjin
and Maasai, while the central highlands were occupied by the Kikuyu and other communities
involved in agricultural activities. Further, the allocation of land by the
authorities after independence marginalizes certain ethnic groups. The
Kalenjin’s in particular felt that they had been cheated out of the land
redistribution program and reacted violently displacing many Kikuyus. The
Kalenjin’s thought the Kikuyus were allocated some of the land which was theirs
to begin with. In search for reparation, the Kalenjins then assured to return
to the old set of rules based the Majimbo constitution in order to relocate the
Kikuyu and repossess their ancestral lands. However, the above problem account seems
an oversimplification of the recent crisis.

The 2007 Post-election

The chronological of 2007
election violence has been politically manifested and exploited for long time
and it again fuelled this is due to competing inter-ethnic interest and claim
to land that could not be accommodated or resolved by political elites. It has
been argued that since 1990s certain leaders have exploited ethnic grievances
over alleged historical injustices in Kenya and the 2007 episode was just
another magnitude of such intrigues (Bayne, 2008). The struggle over land in
Kenya has always been the centre of political violence life (Landau et al
2007). The land dispute also reflected in 1992 and the 1997 violence, this specifies
that the quest for land control is a fundamental to political life of Kenya.
During the violence homes were burned and Kikuyus families forced to grab their
belongings and flee Oosterom, M. 2016. 
Within a day, nearly all business was closed, and the typically busy
streets of Nairobi were empty. During January and February 2008, hundreds of
thousands of people were displaced from their homes. Crime exploded in densely
populated areas, such as Luo lands, settlements in Rift valley, and intra-urban
slums in Mombasa. In Nyanza province, and parts of Nairobi, the streets saw
constant rioting until the end of January. Firms were looted, and road were
barricaded, leaving people unable to work, farmers and commuters alike. Many
members of large ethnic groups attacked anyone whom felt didn’t belong,
minorities and people that had come from other countries were common targets.
Some people even fled to Uganda and other nearby countries to escape the social
unrest, one sector greatly affected by the political unrest was tourism, fights
and tours were cancelled, companies withdrew from Kenya, and many people lost
their job due to lay-offs. The international media covered the tragedies extensively,
giving the outside world the impression that the entire country was amidst a
bloody battle, when truly, parts of Kenya were untouched by violence. The
fragile state of economy affected surrounding countries as well



The interview is the most
widely used method in a research. An interview is a conversation which purpose
is to gather description of an interviewee with respect to the interpretation
of meanings of a phenomenon (Kvale 1996). Interviews are systemic way of
talking and listening to people (Weiss) and it is another way to collect data
from individuals through conversations. As a methodology like any other
research, interviews have some negative and positive aspects. When conducting
interviewing in the case of Kenya post-election violence researcher might face
the number of challenges which include biasness, time consuming, ethical

Deficiency of prior
interviewing experience can be most important obstacle to highly-quality data collection
using interviews. However, issues such as phrasing of questions or tone
variation can have massive effect on how interviewees respond. As
aforementioned, interview can be prone to a form of bias where the person being
interviewed answers questions in a way which they think the questionnaire wants
from them (Weiss, R)

The bias is anything in
the design or execution of the study that may impact on the truthfulness of the
findings. It is important for a researcher to maintain eye contact during the
interview. (Bryman)

Doing an interview in a country
like Kenya were ethnicity plays a more important role than democracy, a
researcher must be familiar with the interested area because the respondents are
also inclined to a certain political group thus leaving no room get accurate
data.  Kalenjin-Kikuyu were the most affected
by the 1992 and 2007 election violence and as a researcher you need to be
familiar with area to conduct a research. Some victims who accept to be
interviewed require security and by doing so some has to flee outside the
country for their safety. In the volatile region of Rift valley, you must be
ready to face rejection. Their culture ascribes researchers as intruder who
wants to exploit them. Researchers have to employ good rapport in order to be
accepted. Going down by what happened in the 2007 post-election violence,
witnesses were forced to recant their statements citing security and
intimidation. Precisely, in March 2010 the pre-trial made a decision by allowing
the prosecutor to conduct an investigation of crimes committed during the
post-election violence. The international criminal court (ICC) issued summons
to appear against six individuals. Each individual was charged with crimes
against humanity. The cases where grouped in to two (Journalists for Justice / December 2016)

first involved the Orange
Democratic Movement (ODM) party associated with current Deputy President
William Ruto, former agriculture minister Henry Kosgey alongside journalist Joshua
Sang related to violence committed against perceived supporters of Party of
National Unity (PNU). the victims were predominantly from Kikuyu, Kisii and
Kamba communities living in Eldoret. Similarly.

second case was against the current President Uhuru Muhigai Kenyatta, the
former, police commissioner Mohammad Hussain Ali alongside former head of civil
service Francis Muthaura related to violence committed against perceived
supporters of ODM. The victims were predominantly from Kalenjin, Luo and Luyha
communities living in Nakuru and Naivasha (Burchard, S.M p.333).

On such sceneries the
prosecutor was faced with many obstacles to conduct proper investigations to
build the cases. In May 2013, the prosecutor announced she was withdrawing the
charges against Francis Muthaura. Her reasons included that some witnesses had
die or were afraid to testify. The recruitment of victims, intimidations, lack
of cooperation and insufficient funds to conduct the research (Jonathan
W. Rosen). these
all undermines researcher conducting a proper research.   

Even if researchers
obtain a necessary permission to carry out the research in victims of violence,
there are still a number of unpredictable obstacles he/she must address while
preparing and implementing a research project about the victims, and it is
necessary to plan consent procedures, recruitment process and method of data
collection which will minimize safety issues.


















In interviews, ethical
issues are one of the main concern. Confidentiality must be given, and respondents
must not be harmed in anyway by interviewer. It is important that interviews
are not used for dubious means of selling something to the respondents (Gray,

Ethics is the science
which deals with human values, rights and honest values in their actions
(Stoner, et al.,1991)

Furthermore, the relationship
and affinity that established between the scholar and participants in a
discussion research can arise of ethical concerns (Weiss, S. R). Researchers
face predicaments such as; respect of privacy, establishment of honesty and
open interaction avoiding distortions (Sanjari, M et al). Sanjari, M et al argued
that ethnically thought-provoking conditions might arise if a researcher takes
to deal through opposing issues and choose amid different methodological approaches
in conflict arise. However, when such cases discrepancies among dissimilar mechanisms
occurs, it could be unavoidable. Therefore, it is of significant ethical
concerns for a researcher to take care into account while carrying a research the
following; anonymity, confidentiality and informed consent.








Informed consent 

Informed permission is
one of the most important parts of ethics in research. As a researcher, it is
important to stipulate in advance which kind of data you will assemble and how it
will be used (Sanjari, M et al). Sanjari, M et al argued that an interviewer’s duty
is entirely to notify the participants of different aspect of the research in the
most all-inclusive manner to avoid conflict of interest.  The interviewer has the responsibility of guarding
all participants in the study from any source of damaging consequences that
might affect them as a result of them sharing any information. Post-election violence
in Kenya is one of the most delicate of topics where researchers face
challenges while collecting data from victims. They always fear to be involved
because the of reprisal consequences from their community, friends, relatives
and family. Sanjari, M., et al suggest that there is need to know the nature of
the research of study, the participants role, the identity and the financing
body, the objective of the study in the enquiry, the society, community, ethnic
group, or families may benefit them and can contribute the enhancement of
victims of post-election violence  

the researcher must be aware of the particular goal aimed at participation of
the study in order to circumvent the unwelcome concerns.  Sanjari. M., et al argued that the likelihood
of indirect trauma as a result of the discussions needs to be gauged. Noteworthiness,
the interview has to be perhaps arranged to provide scholar with adequate
recovery period and reduce risk of emotive fatigue to allow for scrutiny of the
objective and sensitive aspect of the study. The aforementioned is necessary
also for a scholar to be familiar with extreme signs of the fatigue in addition
be equipped to take necessary measures before too much is done.



Respect of anonymity and


term confidentially conveys different meaning from different researchers.
Confidentially means no at all individual evidence to be make known, suppose
only on a specific circumstance. Researchers, nevertheless, has a moral
obligation to uphold information at their discretion

post-election violence researcher must attempt to minimize the possibility of invasion
into independence of the research participants by all means.  When very sensitive issues are alarmed, the
victims and other susceptible individual should have admission to an advocate
who is present during the primary stage of the study, and preferably, during
the data gathering sessions. It is important that a researcher clarify in
writing which person can have access to the initial data and how the data might
be used (Sanjari M. et al)











Respect of privacy

Privacy is the lethal component
while individual is conducting a research. For a researcher to maintain his
reputation he/she must be in position not to undermine the participant. Privacy,
refers to control over the extend, timing and circumstance of sharing oneself behaviourally
or intellectually with others. It is also the right to limit access by others.
As a researcher there is need to understand the respondent privacy and
boundaries. People from different cultural norm of proposed population are more
private than others, therefore conducting an interview of chosen respondents.  In Kenya as a researcher, you must understand
the cultural background of your community because this might limit you from
getting best results. doing this will result in trust between, the participants
and the researcher. this will reduce the worry of the part of individual; it
maintains the participants dignity; the participant feels respected and it
gives the participant control and autonomy. Thus, if this fails to be upheld
then the research will be hard to handle.

Different communities in
Kenya have different sets of culture and it is important aspect to keep in mind;
therefore, the information you are going to ask will not jeopardize your
research. Kalenjin are Nilotic group which is composed of different sub-ethnic
group namely Nandi, Kipsigis. Tugen, Keiyo, Marakwet and Pokot. These sub groups
react differently to some issues. The research has to understand the cultural
dimensions if you have to conduct a research. however, language barrier might
hinder a researcher from getting the correct and required information. This
might be difficult accessing the victims.  






My hope is that this
research will offer some insights into post-election violence and the victim.
my intention is to reveal the obstacle of interviewing as tool for research.

The methodological
challenges facing post-elections violence researchers are numerous, but not imposible.
Gaining access to victims as a researcher requires knowledge of rules and regulations,
but it is also astute. Scheming suitable instruments that protect the
participants and remain appropriate to researcher inevitable task that arise
when doing post-election research (Weiss, S. R)

In my view conducting interviews
with the victims of post-election violence, it is important to treat the victim
with respect this will help to outweigh victim’s gravitation from participating
in academic research work, and it will allow a researcher to remain truthful
and honesty. Through a research project, researcher should interact with
victims as human beings than just writing which will narrow the distance
between their fates and capacity that may have to influence them. This will
yield in giving a satisfying result.







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