Analysing the case of secession in Kenya

Authors Joseph Lutta

ISSN: 2521-2605
Affiliations: Advocate of the High Court of Kenya
Source: Journal of Comparative Law in Africa, Volume 6 Issue 1, p. 1 – 27


Secession remains an emotive, divisive and nebulous subject within the realms of public international law. This is because it pools together two diametrically opposed notions of the right to self-determination and state sovereignty and territorial integrity. On one hand, the right to self-determination is perceived as inalienable since the people have the liberty to break away from a repressive regime and form their own country. In contradistinction, the sovereignty of state is a sacrosanct model that holds the state together and any notion of secession poses an existential threat to the territorial integrity and political stability of a country. On a more abstract level this paper attempts to underscore the legal position of secession in Kenya. More specifically, it expounds on the various underlying reasons behind the simmering support for self-determination across the country. In the same vein, it expounds whether this concept is conceivable in light of the current constitutional dispensation and prevailing judicial decisions. Furthermore, it encompasses a comprehensive comparative study of other judicial forums with a more specific reference to the futuristic advisory opinion by ICJ on the Republic of Kosovo. Thereafter, it suggests a possible model that would befit the Kenyan situation when dealing with this concept.