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Title:Polling places and 'slow punctured provocation': occult-driven cases in postcolonial Kenya's High Courts
Author:Luongo, KatherineISNI
Periodical:Journal of Eastern African Studies (ISSN 1753-1055)
Geographic term:Kenya
supreme courts
Abstract:In Kenya, witchcraft remains central to the intersecting arenas of politics and justice. Postcolonial case files of witchcraft-related crimes offer important insights into the ways that approaches and attitudes to witchcraft, politics, and justice have shifted since independence. High Court cases addressing witchcraft and electoral fraud underscore the fact that the occult is now thought of as a clear path to State power, rather than a challenge to it. In Kenya's high courts, cases of witchcraft-driven violence have involved complex shifts in the judiciary's willingness to negotiate with 'local' attitudes towards witchcraft in assessing pleas for and against mitigation. These cases indicate that while the postcolonial courts take the existence and efficacy of witchcraft for granted in a way that their colonial predecessors certainly did not, they retain a circumspect approach to witchcraft when the primacy of State power in matters of politics and justice is at stake. Bibliogr., ref., sum. [Journal abstract]