Continuity and Change in the Practice of Pastoralism among the Pokot of Baringo County, Kenya, 1920-2017
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This study focused on the transformation in the practice of pastoralism among the Pokot of East-Pokot, Baringo County, from 1920 to 2017. It was guided by the following research objectives: to examine the way in which colonialism shaped the nature and practice of pastoralism among the Pokot of Baringo District, to examine post-independence government policies in the transformation of pastoralism, and to examine the socio-economic changes and continuities within pastoralism in Kenya’s era of multi-Partyism. The study used two theories, dependency and under-development theory and symbolic interaction theory, in the analysis of data. The qualitative research approach was employed in the study. Data was procured from both primary and secondary sources. Secondary data was obtained from the various sources in the libraries within Nairobi and beyond. Online sources were also consulted. Secondary data was based on written data, both published and unpublished such as books, theses, journals, newspapers, and periodicals, among others. Primary data was procured from the Kenya National Archives (KNA) and from the respondents in the field. A purposive sampling procedure was used to select respondents whereby a sample of 100 respondents was drawn from government administrators, chiefs, clan elders, security personnel, church leaders, and members of the community who were presumed to have relevant information on the topic under study. Data from these respondents were procured through various strategies, including key informant interviews and Focused Group Discussions (FGD). The study's key research instruments were question guides, questionnaires, interview schedule guides, and document analysis guides, among others. Data analysis began immediately after data collection to avoid loss of vital information. This was achieved by creating themes from the gathered data guided by the study's specific objectives. The study revealed that there were both aspects of continuity and change in pastoralism in the period 1920-2017. The findings indicated that the colonial government altered the traditional mode of pastoralism by imposing fees to access dry weather grazing fields. The post-independence government perpetuated the colonial policies on the pastoral Pokot, and it was established that there was a change of conflict from resource-based to development-based. This study is important because it will help to identify the contribution of pastoralism to the Kenyan economy. It will also enrich the historiography of economic history not only in Kenya but also worldwide.