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Title:The Kenya 1997 general elections in Maasailand: of 'sons' and 'puppets' and how KANU defeated itself
Author:Rutten, MarcelISNI
Book title:Out for the count: the 1997 general elections and prospects for democracy in Kenya
Year:2001
Pages:405-440
Language:English
Geographic term:Kenya
Subjects:Maasai
elections
1997
Abstract:This chapter reviews Maasai politics from the beginning of the 20th century until the Kenya general elections of 29-30 December 1997. It describes Maasai politics in the colonial days (1900-1963) and in the early years after independence (1963-1983), the rise of new political leaders in Maasailand in the period 1983-1992, shifting alliances and the emergence of Maasai nationalism in the 1990s, the role of Maasai traditional leaders, and the preamble to the 1997 elections in Maasailand, particularly Kajiado District. It shows that, in the end, the power struggle among the Maasai has always been centred on safeguarding access to resources (land, water, jobs). Sections, subclans and age groups play a significant role in the outcome of this political fight. However, no easy voting lines can be pointed out, as individual interests play a major role. Multipartyism opened the eyes of many firm KANU believers in Kajiado District, when the ruling party they had supported for many years 'rigged' out their 'sons'. As a result, KANU is no longer the natural option for the Maasai electorate. However, whether the opposition will be able to consolidate its position in Maasailand remains to be seen. Bibliogr., notes, ref.
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