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Political violence in Kenya in 2007 could have been avoided had the government heeded an African Peer Review Mechanism Report, the country's planning minister said on Friday.

“We could have avoided the conflict if we had taken the APRM seriously,” Wycliffe Oparanya told reporters in Durban.

According to Oparanya the country took the recommendations in an APRM report in 2006 lightly. More than 1,000 Kenyans were killed in violence during Kenya's elections a year later. Kenya was one of the founding members of the APRM in 2003.

Oparanya was attending an APRM meeting that would look at its operating procedures and the revised self-assessment questionnaires used by the APRM when reviewing a country.

He said the 2006 report had raised three important issues - land, youth unemployment and tribal tensions. The fallout over the 2007 election results had led to “political whipping of the tribes”.

“If we had addressed these issues, this (the violence) would not have happened.”

He said the country's constitution of 2010 had attempted to address the issues raised in the 2006 APRM report on Kenya.

The APRM is a mutually agreed instrument where African Union member states agree to be reviewed by their peers, as well as carry out a self-assessment in four areas: democracy and political governance, economic governance, corporate governance, and socio-economic development. - Sapa