Reaction to Kenya’s 2007 national elections was explosive. Riots claimed at least 1000 lives, and upwards of 300,000 people were displaced from their homes. The public lacked faith in both the ballot counting and in the impartiality of dispute resolution by the judiciary. On both counts, public cynicism was justified. No democracy can flourish without the rule of law. In the absence of faith in the rule of law to replace police state oppression, government stability is evanescent. Rule of law is a habit; it grows only through steady erosion of past practices and constant reminders to officials that the times have changed. Public faith in the rule of law cannot be demanded—it must be earned. Kenya emerged from dictatorial control in 2002. The process of gaining public faith in the rule of law is a long one, and Kenya is in the middle of it.

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