Friday, May 31, 2013

Personal Challenge: Cartooning Post-Election Kenya

Dear Cartoonist,

As you know, Kenya in March underwent its first elections since the disastrous aftermath of the 2007 polls. These were conducted under a new constitution and on the ballot were two politicians indicted by the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity in relation to their alleged role in the conflagration that followed the previous polls. Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto joined together to form the Jubilee Coalition and have now been elected President and Deputy President of Kenya respectively. The elections, while generally peaceful, were not without controversy with the outcome having to be decided by the country's fledgling Supreme Court. 

Ever since the election, the Kenyan Government has been on a so far unsuccessful crusade to get the ICC charges against its two top leaders, which Uhuru Kenyatta had famously called a "Personal Challenge" during the campaign, dropped. In this effort, it has been rebuffed by the UN Security Council and embraced by the African Union. Despite pre-election threats of isolation, the indicted President has visited with UK premier David Cameron (though away from No. 10 and without the customary photo-op). Coupled with the aggressive campaign by his government, the Kenyan situation is now seen as the greatest threat to the legitimacy -and even existence- of the ICC.

Other casualties of the March elections include Kenyan civil society organisations whom the winning Jubilee coalition sought to paint as stooges of the imperialist West both during and after the election, and the Kenyan media which has been accused of forsaking its traditional vocal watchdog stance and turning a blind eye to malfeasance in the name of preserving the peace.

To further complicate the picture, the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission has recently released its report which covers government massacres, rapes and other atrocities against its citizens, illegal land grabs, corruption and larceny. It names over 400 individuals, including Messrs Uhuru and Ruto, and many of their allies and rivals.

The Association of East African Cartoonists is organising an international cartoon exhibition on these and other aspects of the aftermath of the Kenyan Elections. The theme is  "Personal Challenge: Cartooning Post-Election Kenya". The exhibition is open to both professional and amateur cartoonists.

To participate, please send your entries to:

All entries should be in JPEG format with a resolution of at least 300DPI and should be received by 21 June 2013.

Thanks and I look forward to receiving your works.

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