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Tribalism: Us and them

Economic disparities are one legacy of the colonial era, but such social divides can be politicised - and militarised.
Last Modified: 23 Feb 2013 16:55

With members of tribes and ethnic communities forced from their land during colonial times in favour of other groups, resentment continues to linger around the lack of land reforms since Kenya's independence in the 1960s.

As some communities and districts were favoured by the British occupiers over others, entire regions have found themselves marginalised and under-developed, a social injustice that has yet to be fully rectified.

Deep-seated economic inequalities between regions and between ethnic groups can easily be politicised. "And what has been both ethnicised and politicised can easily be militarised," says anti-corruption activist John Githongo.

Otsieno Namwaya, from Human Rights Watch, agrees: "We are seeing mobilisation along ethnic lines, such that the election is turning out to be a competition between tribes and communities...

"We are beginning to see a devolution of violence."

This video is part of IRIN's "No Ordinary Election" series. Catch up with the whole special series here.

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