The State Ruptures

  • Westen K. Shilaho


The chapter argues that the leadership transition from Daniel arap Moi to Mwai Kibaki in 2002, constituted a democratic reversal. The 2002 elections presented a watershed moment in Kenya’s post-colonial history because it was the first time that an incumbent handed over power to a successor much as both Moi and Kibaki were establishment politicians. Thus Kibaki’s ascendancy to power on a reform agenda and backed by a broad tribal alliance, did not lead to the anticipated reform but in fact blocked transformation. A resurgence of Kikuyu dominance of the political and economic spheres elicited resistance from marginalized ethnic groups that snowballed into the divisive 2005 referendum, then the equally divisive 2007 disputed presidential elections, and the subsequent post-election violence. The fear of losing control of the state by the plutocrats, entrenched impunity, ethnicity, historical injustices, especially land related, and weak institutions contributed to the violence. These issues were at the core of Kenya’s fragility. The 2007–2008 post-election violence was not some atavistic “tribal” warfare. Although disputed Presidential elections were the proximate cause, a legacy of state-sanctioned injustices, impunity and institutionalized amnesia were some of the substantive causes.


Danial arap moi Mwai kibaki Kikuyu Tribal warfare Presidential elections 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of JohannesburgJohannesburgSouth Africa

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