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What we know: Kenya surprised everyone in 2008 when the aftermath of its presidential election erupted into street violence. After weeks in which ethnic militias roamed the streets of Nairobi and the broader Rift Valley, a power-sharing government was finally cobbled together by former U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan. Since then, the country has ambled toward an internationally sanctioned series of political reforms meant to prevent the recurrence of such violence. This August, voters approved a widely praised new constitution that includes many of the institutional reforms that the international community was pushing for post-election violence. Still, other confidence building measures -- such as the prosecution of key organizers and perpetrators of the election violence -- have yet to move forward. What we learn: The U.S. embassy is working forcefully to push forward the reform agenda, an August 2010 cable notes. The strategy is one of slow and steady progress, mixing engagement with the Kenyan government with outreach to Kenyan citizens. As the ambassador's cable notes, "While the culture of impunity and the grip of the old guard political elite on the levers of state power and resources remain largely intact, hairline fractures are developing in their edifice which -- if we continue to work them intensively -- will develop into broader fractures and open up the potential for a peaceful process of implementation of fundamental reforms." But while the cable lays out the basis of a reform agenda, it is not entirely optimistic that institutional and personal hurdles can be surmounted. First, it mentions a redacted individual who "blocks progress on high-level investigations and has ties directly to State House." Another example involves alleged Kenyan government ties "with the ‘kwe kwe' death squad responsible for extrajudicial killings." Calling out corruption within the Kenyan government isn't likely to make Washington's job any easier. But Nairobi has experience with WikiLeaks blowing the lid on big scandals. The self-described whistleblower released a secret report in 2007 detailing the blockbuster corruption within the government of former president Daniel Arap Moi. The curveball: China is moving into Kenya, building roads and drilling oil, but a cable also notes that "90% of the ivory smugglers detained at JKIA [Jomo Kenyatta International Airport] are Chinese nationals." China is also "providing weapons to the GOK [government of Kenya] in support of its Somalia policies and increasing their involvement with the Kenyan National Security and Intelligence Service (NSIS) by providing telecommunications and computer equipment." There is no elaboration on which Somalia policy in particular China is fond of, but Kenya serves as the hub for the anti-piracy campaign in the Gulf of Aden and is one of the only countries that has offered to prosecute captured pirates in court.