Head to Head

Kenya: Democracy on trial?

Former Prime Minister Odinga on Kenya’s “tribal” democracy, political violence, corruption and the rise of al-Shabab.

In this episode of Head to Head, Mehdi Hasan challenges former Prime Minister Raila Odinga on the state of Kenya’s “tribal” democracy, political violence, impunity and corruption, and the rise of al-Shabab.

Raila Odinga is a legendary opposition figure, former Prime Minister of Kenya (2008-2013) and a 2017 Presidential hopeful. For some he is a hero of democracy and the best president Kenya never had, while others consider him dangerous and divisive. 


by ”Raila

, two times I’ve won and I have been robbed two times.”]

In this episode we explore Odinga’s defeat in a disputed election which triggered violence and put the country on the brink of civil war.

We challenge him on whether he did enough to stop the 2007/08 bloodshed, and ask him if there will ever be justice for the victims. We also explore his record fighting corruption while in office and the decision to send Kenyan troops into Somalia in 2011 to fight al-Shabab. 

With the help of a panel of experts we discuss whether East Africa’s economic powerhouse has finally put ethnic politics behind it and ask: Are Kenyans any closer to finding justice or does political impunity still dominate? Is corruption still holding Kenya back? And as the country finds itself on the frontline of the so-called war on terror, how can it tackle the rise of al-Shabab?

Joining this discussion are:

Nic Cheeseman, professor of African politics at the African Studies Centre of Oxford University, and author of Democracy in Africa.

Agnes Gitau, adviser on trade and investment for East Africa and commentator.

Parselelo Kantai, a Kenyan investigative journalist and editor of The New African.

Kenya: Can democracy survive corruption? with Raila Odinga will be broadcast on May 6 at 20:00GMT and will be repeated on May 7 at 12:00, May 8 at 01:00, and May 9 at 06:00.

Head to Head is Al Jazeera’s forum of ideas, a gladiatorial contest tackling big issues such as faith, the economic crisis, democracy and intervention in front of an opinionated audience at the Oxford Union.

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