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IJMS Abstract

Effect of Political Mobilization on Political Violence in Nairobi County, Kenya: Focus on Mathare and Kibra Informal Settlements

*Justus K. Musya, Frank Matanga and Maurice Amutabi

Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology, Kakamega, Kenya.

Accepted June, 16, 2017

This article arose out of a need to understand better the role of political elite and actors in the mobilization of ethnic supporters for political action, specifically the recurrent political violence, in Kibra and Mathare. To investigate how political elites consolidate ethnic mobilization and use it in political contests, quantitative analysis was used and involved a proportional stratified random sample. A sample size of sample size of (n=766) was used and was divided equally between Kibra (n=383) and Mathare (n=383). The sample was weighted to reflected the relative sample sizes in Kibra (n=7) and Mathare (n=6). The sample was disaggregated as “in-group”, “out-group”, and “other-group”. The “in-group” (n=296) were presumed ethnic supporters of the ruling elite during the 2007 presidential election and the “out-group” (n=268) supported the non-ruling elite in this contest. Besides, these groups had engaged severally in ethno-political conflicts in the study area. The “other-group” (n=202) belonged to smaller ethnic groups living in the study area who did not belong to the core ethnic groups from who the political elite drew political support. The group was used as an analytical tool –to compare conflict attitudes and behaviour against the “in-group and “out-groups.” Regarding political mobilization apropos the 2007-2008 national election, statistically significant differences were observed, with the “in-group” having higher levels of mobilization than the “out-group”. This suggests the “in-group”, was keener to preserve its status of privilege than the “out-group” was to shed off its marginalised status. Regarding scores for political violence, the “out-group” had lower scores than the “in-group”, suggesting the “out-group” had stronger negative attitudes and behaviour towards the “in-group” than did the latter towards the former group. Hypotheses testing showed that political mobilization was a significant factor in the outbreak of political violence in the study area. But significant differences were observed vis a vis the “in-group” and “out-group”. Political mobilization was a factor in political violence for the “in-group” and not for the “out-group", the presumed initiators of the violence in the study area. Political violence occurred spontaneously when animosities of the “out-group” escalated, triggered by the declaration of a disputed election. But the use of political violence as a tool to achieve political objectives was organised and enabled by political elites, who used ethnic militia to score political objectives.

Key words: “in-group”, “out-group”, political mobilization, political violence.

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