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Periodical issue Periodical issue Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Creating the Kenya post-colony
Editor:Cheeseman, NicISNI
Periodical:Africa Today (ISSN 1527-1978)
Geographic term:Kenya
political systems
political elite
political opposition
conference papers (form)
External link:http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/africa_today/toc/at53.2.html
Abstract:There is a need to reevaluate the political impact of decolonization in Kenya, and to do this from a perspective that recognizes the importance of formal political institutions. In seeking to do this, the papers in this special issue, first presented at a conference on creating the Kenya postcolony (Oxford, 18-19 April 2005), explore the relationship between government and opposition. They focus on the significance of institutions in shaping the options available to Kenyan political actors, and look at how different groups, explicitly political and otherwise, responded. Within the focus on postcolonial continuities, they adopt two main methodological approaches. The first seeks a balanced comparison of the colonial and postcolonial eras. Matthew Carotenuto compares the relationship between the Luo Union and the State in the two periods and demonstrates the continuing tension between the State and competing sources of power. The second approach seeks to demonstrate that many of the roots of postcolonial discourses and structures lie in the colonial period. Marie-Emmanuelle Pommerolle shows how contemporary human rights defenders appropriate and utilize Mau Mau imagery, revealing both the contested nature of memory and the ability of postcolonial actors to (re)imagine Kenya's past as a strategy for political mobilization. Daniel Branch argues that the colonial government effectively manipulated elections in Central Province in 1957 and 1958 to ensure the promotion of an African elite sympathetic to British interests. In addition to introducing the papers, Nic Cheeseman examines the factors that underpin the continued supremacy of the executive-administrative axis in the Kenya postcolony and develops the twin concepts of political linkage and political space to describe the political landscape of the colonial and postcolonial eras. In the conclusion Stephen Orvis argues that the reigning paradigm, neopatrimonialism, has tended to underestimate the importance of formal political institutions, limiting its ability to explain the relative stability and moderation of Kenya's authoritarian State. The case studies in the individual contributions indicate that the political space in Kenya is tied to the development of key, relatively strong political institutions shaped by both the late colonial experience and the political logic of the immediate postcolony. [ASC Leiden abstract]