Date of Award

January 2015

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


African American Studies


Sang N. Sangmpam


Class Relations, Democratization, Ethnic politicization, Kenya, Marginalization, Post-Election Violence

Subject Categories

Social and Behavioral Sciences


Until recently, Kenya was considered an icon, a bastion of political stability and economic growth in East Africa and Africa in general. Forty-four years after gaining independence, and fifteen years since the beginning of multiparty democracy, the ruling elite touted this exceptionalism to conceal the historical grievances of marginalized communities. Given this background, the electoral violence experienced between December 2007 and March 2008 came as a surprise to many. Much scholarship on the topic focuses on the immediate triggers such as voting irregularities rather than the underlying conditions that existed prior to the violence. In this study, I attempt to identify the root causes of the electoral violence in Kenya by focusing on two main areas of historical marginalization: class and ethnic marginalization. The Kenyan crisis helps show some lessons for pan-African world.


Open Access