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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Firearms and Political Power: The Military Decline of the Turkana of Kenya, 1900-2000
Author:Nene, Mburu
Periodical:Nordic Journal of African Studies
Geographic term:Kenya
armed forces
small arms
Military, Defense and Arms
History and Exploration
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
Politics and Government
External link:http://www.njas.helsinki.fi/pdf-files/vol10num2/mburu.pdf
Abstract:This article explores the significance of firearms in the politico-military decline of the Turkana community of northwestern Kenya and southern Sudan from 1900 to the present day. Before the nineteenth century, the Turkana had a large army and commanded such great respect among their pastoral neighbours (Nyangatom, Didinga, Dodoth, Toposa and Dassanetch) that they always provided the paramount chief. Their army was tailored for pastoral raids and predatory expansion that suited their social and physical environment. However, they encountered the British colonial army at a time they were experiencing rivalry among their diviner-cum-military leaders. The community was devastated by colonial expeditions and a repressive system of administration that disarmed them and curtailed their tradition of reciprocal raids. In converse, their pastoral neighbours continued to arm and raid with impunity, as they were not under effective administration of either Ethiopia or Sudan. The situation has continued to the present day. In an area awash with automatic weapons, the disadvantage to the Turkana community is clear. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum.