Election Violence in Kenya: A Case Study of Nakuru 1992-2008
Osman, Omar Mohamed
MetadataShow full item record
This study focused on the causes of election violence in Nakuru Municipality since the multi-party elections of 1992 and recommended countermeasures to be instituted to avoid the reoccurrence of the same. The causes of electoral violence might have been unique and different depending on the area. Among these factors are the political bargains at the founding of the Kenyan state, the post independence coalitions crafted to sustain ethnic hegemony and the insularity of post independence governing elites. These historical dynamics have been sustained by the patron - client nature of Kenyan politics and the resultant exclusion of non-power holding ethnic communities. Contemporary and historical factors were at the root of the vicious reactions before and after elections since 1992. The study found out that, lust for amassing more wealth (greed) by politicians and the wellconnected people, existing injustices (grievance) on land, stolen elections, poverty, and unemployment among others made election violence persistent. The Governments turned a blind eye to its responsibility to ensure fairness and inclusiveness as hallmarks of democratic governance. Inefficiency, laxity and reluctance of concerned ministries and electoral institutions greatly contributed to the violence’s since the multi-party elections of 1992. The study used both qualitative and quantitative approaches and employed a descriptive survey design by analyzing a wide range of primary and secondary sources. Secondary data was utilized, especially police records, books, journals and newspapers in order to obtain a full picture of the spread of election violence. Secondary data provided a useful background and historical data on people and groups. The Greedgrievance theory by Paul Collier and Anke Hoeffler was used to guide this study – at one extreme, groups might arise because rebels aspire for wealth by capturing resources extra-legally while at the other extreme they might arise because such dissenting groups aspire to rid the nation or the group of people with which they identify, of an unjust regime. The researcher used purposive sampling, which is a non-probabilistic sampling method. The researcher brought into play questionnaires, interviews, focus-group discussions and observation in collection and qualitatively analyzing of data. Data analysis was done manually and presented in tables and graphs. The study recommends that, a land acquisition and redistribution framework beneficial to all communities, which have been aggrieved since independence, must be on the Government’s agenda as a permanent peace building incentive. The “willing buyer, willing seller” policy, which favours the richest communities, needs to be broken. A credible institutional framework for disarming and dismantling all party-supported mercenaries in the name of Vigilante groups within Nakuru is significant. The media and Government institutions should share information as a vital component of violence-free election planning. The finding of the study is projected to enlighten the poor, the unemployed and other vulnerable groups in Nakuru Municipality about the election violence trends and factors that contribute to election violence. This will thus make them more critical when called upon to participate in electoral violence. It will also benefit the Government administrators and those in authority in improving their administration.