Politicization of Ethnicity; Case of Transitional Democracy in Kenya


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The violence that followed the 2007 presidential elections in Kenya came as a surprise both to Kenyans as well as the international community.

This was in part a contrast to the popularly held view of Kenya as a model of stability in the turbulent Eastern African region.

The post-election violence challenged the conceited view of the international community that Kenya was not “a country to worry about” – but a society with historic deeply rooted ethnic animosities.

This book traces the ethnicity problem from the independence struggle to how it manifests in contemporary society.

The book expresses how freedom of expression, association and of the press has not played to strengthen democracy but has made it more problematic in Kenya.

The worrying correlation between democratization and ethnic violence reveals the growing politicization of ethnicity at the expense of state centered citizenship in Kenya.

The repeated efforts to rewrite national constitutions and the perennial quest for reforms demonstrate the continuing political energy of nationalistic ideologies where priority is given to ethnic relations thus compromising the practicality of a participatory democracy.

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