A survey of the influence of ‘ethnicity’, in African governance, with special reference to its impact in Kenya vis-à-vis its Luo community
Omulo, Albert Gordon
Williams, John James
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‘Ethnicity’ and disparate group-based socio-economic development make governance in Africa problematic. This paper explores them through a lens – objectively, subjectively or a combination thereof – to understand governance patterns in Africa, with special reference to Kenya and its Luo community. Whilst demonstrating the argument that negative ‘ethnicity’ owes its existence largely to colonialism, we contend that the phenomenon particularly thrives under capitalist dispensations. We employ a historical narrative to explain the marginalization of the Luo of Kenya. We argue that politically constructed stereotypes and prejudices, associated with the Luo, can be traced to the colonial era. We find that a new form of authoritarianism is emerging in Kenya under the Jubilee Administration that negates the new constitution and threatens the fragile peace in the country. Accordingly, the paper concludes that with the view to combat ethnic strife and violence, purposeful, meaningful efforts should be made, to acknowledge the democratic rights of the Luo, and other politically marginalized communities, in all sectors of the Kenyan society.