Clannism and Conflict among the Ajuuran, Degodia and Ogaden Pastoral Somali Clans of Wajir County, Kenya
Rahoy, Mohamed Hussein
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Whereas substantial information exists on the relationship between ethnicity and conflict, little is known about clannism and its nexus with conflict in pastoral areas such as Wajir, Kenya. The study sought to investigate the organization of clan structures and their contribution to conflict in pastoral areas particularly in Wajir County, the consequences of these conflicts and the measures that have been taken to address them. A mixed method design, purposive and convenience sampling techniques targeting the pastoral clan members in Wajir County were employed. A sample size of 150 respondents was used. Data was collected using questionnaires and interviews, processed through Microsoft (MS) excel programs and thereafter analyzed via content and discourse analysis methods. The findings highlight the organizational structures of the three major clans in Wajir within the Somali ethnic group as well as the presence of multiple and vicious conflicts among them resulting from competition for political and economic resources as well as cultures. This competition, seemingly espousing democratic principles, utilizes manipulation and aggressive exploitation of majority in numbers of the members of clans. This state of affairs breeds tension and eventually escalates into armed conflict. In addition, these conflicts were demonstrated to have been severely consequential. Accordingly, many people died, vast amounts of property destroyed, large herds of livestock raided, security situation worsened, environmental degradation heightened and under-development entrenched in Wajir. Suggested mechanisms that may prevent future inter-clan conflict in the area are cultural, political and attitudinal changes through instituting secular and religious educational programmes, negotiated democracy and delimitation of clan boundaries. Other measures are investments in water resources, security, infrastructure and revolutionizing cross-border trade to bring about economic development as well as power and resource devolution, confidence building and disarmament. Finally, recommendations were suggested for further studies on all the neighbouring polities of the locale of study as they face similar challenges as well as the establishment of the contribution of various other variables particularly religion, politics and gender in conflict in the area. The study has therefore elucidated the pertinent issues in clannism and conflict among the Ajuuraan, Degodia and Ogaden pastoral Somali clans of Wajir County, Kenya and subsequently made recommendations on the way forward for peace, stability and development.