Cross Border Conflicts between the Kipsigis and Abagusii of Kenya, 1963-2002.
Omwenga, Hellen Monyenche
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The proposed study acknowledges that, communities in Kenya have related peacefully in various ways both in the pre-colonial, colonial and post-independence period. These cordial relations between different communities have led to social, economic and political development. However, there are some instances when the peaceful co-existence is interrupted by what can be termed as inter-ethnic conflicts. These inter-ethnic conflicts vary in their degree of manifestation; hence, they may be either latent or manifest. Most of these conflicts in Kenya are perpetrated by small militia groups which are consistently most active in the last and first quarters of each year following raiding patterns that increase at the beginning of each rainy season and fall off sharply from mid to late season. Some of the conflicts also tend to take place during the electioneering period. However, some communities have age long conflicts dating back to the pre-colonial period which re-emerged in the post- independence period. These inter-ethnic conflicts may have many aspects including the economic, political, social, and cultural aspects. Therefore, the proposed study seeks to examine the political, cultural and other aspects of cross-border inter-ethn ic confl icts in Kenya and their negative implications by investigating the relations between the Kipsigis and Abagusii along the Sotik- Borabu border. The proposed study will have three objectives: First, is to investigate the role played by politics in instigating the cross-border conflict between the two communities under study, Secondly, is to determine the role played by culture and other factors in propagating the conflict and lastly, is to examine the negative implications of the conflict between the two communities under study. The proposed study will employ Randall Collins' analytic conflict theory which is based on differential distribution of resources in the society which in turn lead to inequalities, Due to these inequalities, there emerges competition between the different social strata for a greater share of the desirables. This competition is what causes conflict. However, the theory seems to be inadequate in addressing other causes of conflict: hence, the adoption of Kaufman's symbolic/emotional choice theory, Kaufman's theory gives a comprehensive explanation of how the security dilemma, combined with elite and mass interaction within and between ethnic groups cause ethnic conflicts. The study will be limited to the period between 1963 and 2002 and the research will be confined further to Gelegele Location of Ndanai division of Ndanai Constituency and Esise Location of Borabu division of Borabu Constituency. Other than sharing a border, the two locations have been selected because they have been in conflict with each other over some issues that the proposed study will find out. Both primary and secondary data will be used in the study. The research will be qualitative in nature and it will use a descriptive research design. Purposive sampling will be used to reach out to the informants. Interviews and questionnaires will be employed as key research strategies. The study may be hindered by respondents failing to complete the questionnaires, withholding information by some respondents, and poor transport and communication network. The targeted groups of respondents include educationists, district commissioners, divisional officers, chiefs, assistant chiefs, religious leaders, clan elders, Non -governmental organizations dealing with peace building along the border and the inhabitants of the region for the past twenty years or more. The results will be checked for any serious flaws and then thematically analyzed.