African Journal of
History and Culture

  • Abbreviation: Afr. J. Hist. Cult.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2141-6672
  • DOI: 10.5897/AJHC
  • Start Year: 2009
  • Published Articles: 171

Full Length Research Paper

Ethnic politics and post-election violence of 2007/8 in Kenya

Opondo P. A
  • Opondo P. A
  • Moi University, Department of History and Political Science, P.O. Box 3900-Eldoret, Kenya.
  • Google Scholar

  •  Received: 28 February 2013
  •  Accepted: 03 May 2013
  •  Published: 31 May 2014


Based on primordial and essentialist theories of ethnicity, the paper critically interrogates the trajectory of politics since 1963 in Kenya. The objective was to explain the causes of ethnic politics in Kenya which led to the political assassination of  the 1960s under Jomo Kenyatta, the ethnic clashes of Moi era and culminated into the 2007/8 post election violence of Kibaki presidency. Under Kenyatta (1963-1978), Kenya experienced relative political and economic prosperity and stability but with an entrenched authoritarianism and ethnic favouritism. The Moi regime (1978-2002) and Kibaki Government (2003-2013) fared no better. This paper seeks to analyze the ethnic praxis to find out the nature, extent and impact of negative ethnicity in the country. It is argued by most post-2007 literature that the causes of violence included poverty, underdevelopment, political marginalization, ethnic exclusion, manipulated electoral process, lack of institutions to mediate in case of election malfeasance and the long held historical injustices over how land distribution was managed in the Kenyatta regime after the end of colonialism. Pursuing a historical methodology, we argue that to prevent political violence in future, the principle of constitutionalism must be upheld. The 2010 Constitution suggested devolution, truth and justice commission, gender and ethnic parity in state appointments and a trustworthy electoral system as means of preventing future conflicts and violence.
Key words: Ethnic politics, post-election, violence Jomo Kenyatta, and Kenya.