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Roots and Routes of Political Violence in Kenya’s Civil and Political Society: A Case Study of Marsabit County

Published on 1 June 2014

Struggles to influence the balance of power and the distribution of economic resources in Kenya have a long history of violence: national and local, actual and threatened, physical and psychological. Somewhat controlled by sophisticated legal, administrative and political institutions and strongly tempered by a deep fund of intercommunity cooperation, violence has been kept in check, but remains persistent.

The levels of violence vary from place to place and year to year, and seldom break out into full-scale clashes or war. Nonetheless, different forms of violence combine with politics to form a resilient chain that exerts powerful control over people’s lives and resists straightforward policy prescriptions or easy practical resolutions.

This case study uses a definition of political settlements to frame the inquiry (Parks and Cole 2010). This approach defines political settlements as the informal agreements that govern the formal negotiation and distribution of goods, rights and responsibilities within the state. The study aims to show one manifestation of how the political settlement in Kenya is upheld by a variety of interlinked forms of ‘normal’ violence, themselves linked to economic dependencies.

Today’s political settlement is founded in the new constitution of Kenya and structured by the new system of devolved government. We show how the informal rules of the political (un)settlement in operation at the most local level play a role in sustaining a violent political system.

Related files for download

Accompanying brief – ER71 Roots and Routes of Political Violence in Kenya’s Civil and Political Society A Case Study of Marsabit County (pdf)

Cite this publication

Scott-Villiers, P.; Ondicho, T.; Lubaale, G.; Ndung'u, D.; Kabala, N. and Oosterom, M. (2014) Roots and Routes of Political Violence in Kenya’s Civil and Political Society: A Case Study of Marsabit County, IDS Evidence Report 71, Brighton: IDS

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Authors

Image of Patta Scott-Villiers

Patta Scott-Villiers

Research Fellow

Image of Marjoke Oosterom

Marjoke Oosterom

Research Fellow

Publication details

published by
IDS
authors
Scott-Villiers, P., Ondicho, T., Lubaale, G., Ndung'u, D., Kabala, N. and Oosterom, M.
journal
IDS Evidence Report, issue 71
language
English

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Programmes and centres
Addressing and mitigating violence

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