Violence and Politics in Kenya’s Uncivil Society


The post-electoral violence of January and February 2008 alerted the
world to the fragility of Kenya’s transition to multi-party
democracy.  This lecture will survey the main events in Kenya’s
politics since the settlement arbitrated by Kofi Annan, putting in place a
‘grand coalition’ government under Mwai Kibaki and Raila
Odinga.  It will be demonstrated that this has halted Kenya’s
transition to democracy, replacing it with a system of competitive
authoritarianism in which the ability to mobilize violence is the key
determinant of political participation. The lecture will also consider the
issues of ‘gang culture’, extrajudicial killings, the rule of
law, and the culture of impunity.

David Anderson is Professor in
African Politics and Director of the African Studies Centre at the
University of Oxford, and a Fellow of St Cross College, Oxford.  His most
recent books are The Khat Controversy, published in 2007,
Histories of the Hanged: Britain’s Dirty War in Kenya and the End of
(2005), and Eroding the Commons
(2002), and he has recently completed a study of Violence and Politics
in Kenya

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