Electoral Competition and Politicised Ethnicity in Kenya

Few African states hold free and fair elections. Most of the elections are either ‘rigged’ or the process is mismanaged from the campaigns til the voting day. In this paper, the point is to examine how the  the politicisation of ethnicity  during electoral competition triggers ethnicised conflict in Kenya. Based on the instrumentalist theory of ethnic conflict, the paper critically studies the use of ethnicity by the Kenyan political elites as a tool to mobilise their ethnic groups promising to create political and socio-economic opportunities at the expense of neglecting the other tribes. The paper sheds a light on the trajectory of politics from 1963 up until the 2007 post-election crisis and how the politicisation of ethnicity created a sense of mistrust and national division among the diverse ethnic communities in Kenya.

Keyword: Electoral Competition, Politicised Ethnicity, Kenya

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