© 2018

Political Power and Tribalism in Kenya


  • Examines Kenya’s state building, identity politics, and violence as a tools of political disorganization

  • Aims to show how multiparty politics has been hijacked by an ethically inclined group of political elites for self-serving ends

  • Illuminates dexterity by a minority plutocracy in maintaining power and state resources to the exclusion of the populace

  • Highlights reforms to ensure justice, inclusive politics, state stability and democratization in Kenya


Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xvii
  2. Westen K. Shilaho
    Pages 1-28
  3. Westen K. Shilaho
    Pages 29-49
  4. Westen K. Shilaho
    Pages 113-142
  5. Westen K. Shilaho
    Pages 165-175
  6. Back Matter
    Pages 177-186

About this book


This book discusses Kenya’s transition from authoritarianism to more democratic forms of politics and its impact on Kenya’s multi-ethnic society. The author examines two significant questions: Why and how is ethnicity salient in Kenya’s transition from one-party rule to multiparty politics? What is the relationship between ethnic conflict and political liberalization? The project explains the perennial issues of political disorganization through state violence and ethnicization of politics, and considers the significance of the concept of justice in Kenya.


Kenyan State Tribalism State Violence Justice State Building Political marginalization Autochthonous politics Politicalisation of ethnicity Democratization Electoral politics Multiparty politics Political elite Tribal violence Postcolonial Plutocracy Political dynasty Political instability Identity politics Collective humiliation Kenya

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.University of JohannesburgJohannesburgSouth Africa

About the authors

Westen K. Shilaho is National Research Foundation Scarce Skills Research Fellow, and South African Research Chair in African Diplomacy and Foreign Policy at the University of Johannesburg, South Africa. 

Bibliographic information