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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The fruits of perception: 'ethnic politics' and the case of Kenya's constitutional referendum
Author:Lynch, GabrielleISNI
Periodical:African Studies
Geographic term:Kenya
constitutional reform
Politics and Government
Ethnic and Race Relations
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
External link:https://doi.org/10.1080/00020180601035674
Abstract:On 21 November 2005 the Kenyan electorate was invited to register its acceptance or rejection of a proposed new constitution, known as the Wako Draft. In the referendum, the symbol of a banana was used to indicate support for the draft, and an orange its rejection. From the day the Draft was published (in mid-August) until polling day, and in contravention to the Electoral Commission of Kenya's (ECK) ruling - the ECK had disallowed referendum campaigning until after 15 October - Kenyans bore witness to grand political theatre, as politicians travelled the country, waving, eating and distributing oranges or bananas. Analyses of the referendum immediately acquired an 'ethnic logic', as ethnic groups were labelled 'orange', 'banana' or divided. Drawing on oral testimony and newspaper reports, and using the referendum as a case study, this paper examines how the struggle for comprehensive constitutional reform, which began in the mid-1990s as a multi-ethnic and 'popular' demand for political renewal, became so enmeshed in ethnic logics. Bibliogr., notes, ref. [ASC Leiden abstract]