Construction of Ethnic Violence through Land and Politics in Molo Constituency, Nakuru County, Kenya; 1990-2015
Malakwen, Isaac T.
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This study investigated construction of ethnic violence through land and politics in Molo Constituency, Nakuru county, Kenya from the year 1990 to 2015. The Division is inhabited by several ethnic groups although the Agikuyu, the Kipsigis (a sub-group of the larger Kalenjin) and the Abagusii are the most populous. Since the introduction of multiparty in 1991, politics has been the major cause of ethnic violence in the area. The study was guided by four objectives; establish land use construct ethnic violence, establish use of politics to construct ethnic violence, examine the challenges of integrating various communities in Molo Constituency and explore specific peace building and reconciliation strategies that can be adopted to ensure inter-ethnic harmony in the study locale. The study is predicated on fundamental premises that ethnic violence in the area has always been socially and politically motivated. The study utilized Instrumentalism and social construction theories to explain how violence is socially and politically constructed. The instrumentalist theory sees ethnicity as neither inherent in human nature nor intrinsically valuable. Ethnicity is perceived as a strategic basis for coalitions that are looking for a larger share of scarce economic or political power and so it is a device for restricting resources to a few individuals (Collier, 2002). The social construction theory perceives ethnic identity as a socially constructed and fluid entity that can be formed through various means including conquest, colonization or immigration (Wimmer, 2008). Ethnic groups are recognized to be social constructions with ‘identifiable origins and histories of expansion and contraction, amalgamation and division (Posner, 2004). The two theories have been used to interrogate the construction of ethnic violence in Molo Constituency between the period 1990-2015.The study employed use descriptive research design and purposive sampling aimed at getting a sample in all the 4 Wards of Molo Constituency. These groups formed part of Focus Group Discussions (FGD). The researcher further used snowball sampling to the identified group to name others whom they knew for key interviews (KI).A sample size of 400 people was issued with questionnaires, upon which inferences were made concerning the entire population. The Study argues that politics of exclusion was the main determinant of the ethnic violence in Molo Constituency. It is therefore imperative for all politicians and other leaders to embrace politics of inclusion and cohesion across all communities both at local and national levels. Also most communities in Molo believe that their ancestral land has been misappropriated right from the colonial period and that the same trend has continued throughout the successive post-independence regimes to date. This historical land injustices ranges from the physical action to legal actions or restrictions on land. There was a general consensus among observers that in Molo Constituency and the larger Nakuru County, the violence was politically instigated. Three waves of violence affected the County; the first wave (1992-1993) the second wave covered the period 1997-1998 and third wave began in 2007 - 2008 following the controversial Presidential poll results. Data collected was analyzed and presented both quantitatively and qualitatively and the findings and recommendation of the study will be useful for the policy makers and future researchers.