US Threatens Restrictions on Kenyan Officials

The BBC reports that US officials have threatened to prohibit a number of senior government officials from traveling to the United States and that the US may also weigh in more critically against Kenyan requests before international financial institutions. The list of officials includes MPs and government ministers who have refused to create a tribunal to look into post-election ethnic violence in 2007, when over 1300 were killed. The impact of the Internet, SMS and other technology was an important part of both the orchestration of that violence (SMS), but the crisis also saw the creation of Ushahidi, a new tool to crowdsource tracking of violent conflict, and showed the importance of Kenyan bloggers who provided factual, on-the-ground reporting for both a domestic and international news audience. As Josh Goldstein and Juliana Rotich wrote in our Kenyan case study:

Using the lens of the 2007–2008 Kenyan presidential election crisis, this case study illustrates how digitally networked technologies, specifically mobile phones and the Internet, were a catalyst to both predatory behavior such as ethnic-based mob violence and to civic behavior such as citizen journalism and human rights campaigns. The paper concludes with the notion that while digital tools can help promote transparency and keep perpetrators from facing impunity, they can also increase the ease of promoting hate speech and ethnic divisions.

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One Response to “US Threatens Restrictions on Kenyan Officials”

  1. Jon Kragen Says:

    Retribution for post-election violence? Obviously we should be against violence but this seems like it might be more of an internal matter for the Kenyans and not something we should get involved in.