However

However, Asiwaju Asiwaju argues that the Berlin conference and colonialism are not sufficient explanations for Africa’s border problems; but rather they are rooted as much in the current politics of influence and resources as in the failings of the colonial past. Arrous supports Asiwaju by noting that African governments have failed to directly confront the questions of conflicts, inter-community relations and cross-border co-operation. These are matters of political governance and policy. Wekesa who says that Africa’s border problems need to be understood as symptoms of current problems, not just colonial legacies, has supported these assertions. That, border disputes have not only slowed the pace of international co-operation and integration, but they have also portrayed the extent to which border communities have been alienated and marginalized by the centralizing state in Africa. These works although not addressing a specific community blames post- independence African politics for the recurrence of ethnic conflicts. The authors have however, focused on politics, thereby omitting the role of cultural perceptions on influencing the conflicts. Also, how such conflicts can be resolved outside political sphere have not been discussed.
Decalo notes that, since the onset of colonialism, power in Kenya has been associated with a particular ethnic group. From self-rule in 1963 until the death of the first president, Jomo Kenyatta in 1978, political and economic power was increasingly vested in his trusted circle of fellow Kikuyu. During the second presidential regime of Moi, political power became concentrated in the hands of the Kalenjin elites. In all the different regimes, then and after, the ruling group sought to use state resources for the special benefit of its own community and its allies. It is the politics of segregation discussed by the authors that have in a way influenced conflict among ethnicities in Kenya. However, the authors have not looked at the resolutions of such conflicts, and the role of traditional mechanisms in peace making.
Jonyo argues that the wave of democratic political changes that started in the early 1990s appeared to have led to the establishment of democracy in terms of multiparty politics. The emergence of political pluralism engendered the polarization of particularistic groupings as political parties crystallize mostly on the basis of ethnic and regional interests rather than common ideology or political principles. According to Nyukuri, the re-introduction of multiparty politics in Kenya in the early 1990s had a number of far-reaching impacts, one of which was the eruption of ethnic clashes in the Rift Valley, Nyanza, Western and the Coast regions. This was partially a fulfilment of the then president Moi’s earlier prediction that a return of the country to a multiparty system would result in an outbreak of ethnic violence that would destroy the nation. In a research carried out by the Partnership for Peace in the Rift Valley in 2012, findings show that patronage politics, the political manipulation of ethnicity and sharp horizontal inequalities have reinforced an undercurrent of ethnic tension in the region leading to high levels of fear and mistrust between communities. Apollos argues that, since the emergence of multiparty politics in 1992, successive election years have been routinely characterized by sporadic political violence and ethnic conflicts. Elections have been seen not to be “free and fair” as a result of the need to manipulate and create political dominance in certain parts of the country. These works by Decalo, Jonyo, Nyukuri and Apollos like those before them, attributes ethnic conflicts to political patronage that emerged after Kenya adopted multi-partyism. The works however, do not narrow to specific communities and thus do not assess factors like cultural perceptions.
Mafeje says that politicization of ethnicity often takes place in a situation characterized by an inequitable structure of access. Such a structure gives rise to the emergence of an “in-group” and an “out-group” with the latter trying to break the structure of inequality as the former responds by building barriers to access that ensure continuation of its privileged position. At the centre of this scenario are the elites who feeling excluded or threatened with exclusion begin to invoke ethnic ideology in the hope of establishing a “reliable” base of support to fight what is purely personal and/or elite interests. Wallerstein supports this argument by asserting that, ethnic consciousness and conflict occur when groups feel threatened with loss of previously acquired privilege or conversely, feel that it’s an opportune moment politically to overcome a long standing denial of privilege; that mechanisms and machinations through which these groups advance their aims are what actually cause ethnic tensions and conflicts. To him, the present manifestations of ethnicity in Africa are an elite and class phenomenon where one community’s elites feel excluded by another from control of economic and political power. They then indoctrinate members of their ethnicity to believe that this is a conspiracy by a whole community against another which should be violently resisted. Mafeje and Wallerstein bring out the role of systematic political exclusion by leaders and how this polarises communities against each other. However, the authors do not look at how the politically instigated conflicts can be addressed indigenously.

As Wamwere notes bad governance is a major root cause of conflict in Kenya due to politics of exclusion. Development in Kenya was determined by “who is who” in the political leadership and the political party the leader subscribes to. Those who were perceived to be opposition sympathizers or elected on opposition political party tickets to parliament had their areas neglected. Wamwere’s work will assist the researcher in finding out whether the conflicts between the Gusii and the Kipsigis of the Borabu-Sotik border are products of neglect. Though Wamwere’s work does not discuss the kind of neglect, the research looks at it in terms of political, economic and social developmental neglect.

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