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Kenya’s Past as Prologue

 | 
Christian Thibon
, 
Marie-Aude Fouéré
, 
Mildred Ndeda
, 
et al.

Political Integration of Minority Communities: The Ogiek of Eastern Mau Forest in the 2013 Elections

Lisa Fuchs

Texte intégral

Introduction

  • 1 Political participation is employed in its strict confines in the present study, focusing on activi (...)
  • 2 Gurr, T. R. (ed.), People versus States, 2000.
  • 3 Ibid. p. xiii.

1All over the world, minorities have been neglected in public and political affairs. In the last two decades, however, research has documented an increased political will at the international and national level, whether in ‘old’ or ‘new’ democracies, not only to recognise the importance of identity diversity in national set-ups but also to promote active inclusion of minorities into public life, including political participation.1 Throughout the world “democratic elites are less likely to rely on strategies of assimilation and repression, [and] more likely to follow policies of recognition, pluralism, and group autonomy.”2 The slowly changing attitudes on societal pluralism allow observing a trend that indicates a decline in intrastate violent conflict with a shift from violence towards negotiation.3

  • 4 Cottrel-Ghai, J. et al., Taking Diversity Seriously, 2013, p. 1.
  • 5 Nassali, M., ‘Movement Towards Political Inclusion’, 2011, p. 3.

2The Kenyan experience seems to support this broad pattern. Historically marginalized and sometimes even reneged in their very existence, minorities have succeeded in bringing their fate on the political agenda and achieved important steps towards greater inclusion into public and political affairs – and thereby in the (making of) the country as such. However, these advances are mainly visible on paper, particularly in the Constitution, while the implementation of these prerogatives remains rudimentary. According to accredited social commentators, inclusion of all citizens in public life “is a significant governance challenge facing Kenya”4 - even more so when it concerns individuals and groups of minority communities. Political participation can be understood as a tool of such integration, ultimately presenting a chance to reverse marginalisation – or to put it differently, to foster democratic dispensation.5

  • 6 Field notes collected between December 2011 and March 2013.

3The present paper discusses marginalisation of minority groups and political participation in relation to a specific group of Kenyan citizens inhabiting the Eastern Mau Forest. This area can be described as remote despite its location in the central Rift Valley and its physical proximity to Nakuru, one of Kenya’s major cities. It is traditionally inhabited by members of the Ogiek community, formerly hunters and gatherers who are considered as belonging to the wider Kalenjin community. The Ogiek are historically one of Kenya’s most marginalised peoples whose members sometimes represent themselves as second class citizens.6 Having become the object of political discourse through campaigns by Rift Valley MPs’ against former Prime Minister Raila Odinga’s Mau Forest rehabilitation and restoration program since the late 2000s, the political identity of forest dwellers has received increasing attention. Against the backdrop of a deeply rooted mistrust and apprehension towards members of other Kalenjin sub-groups, the effects of the politicisation of the Ogiek’s fate on their participation in the 2013 elections and the outcome of their engagements are questioned. Beyond the insights into political participation in this micro-setting, the present case study seeks to draw conclusion in terms of integration of indigenous minority communities in national politics. The reflection on the political participation of the Ogiek can be understood as a wider questioning of the inclusion of Kenya’s minorities in the use and shaping of democratic spaces.

  • 7 Ghai, Yash, Public Participation and Minorities, 2003, p. 5.
  • 8 Mainly carried out by the different authors belonging to the Kenyan section of Minority Rights Grou (...)

4Given that participation of minorities, including the possibility “to [have] a voice of their own, to articulate their distinct concerns and seek redress,”7 has been recognised as crucial for democratic political systems, the Mau Ogiek case can be associated with the wider discussion on democratisation processes in African states. The present study arrives timely as analyses of political participation of the Ogiek are few8 and solely concentrate on participation in everyday life activities intended to influence the political sphere. No single study analyses the Mau Ogiek’s electoral practices. The present research seeks to fill this gap and give a status report on Kenya’s ability to include all segments of her society in national decision-making processes, by elaborating on the experience of the Ogiek indigenous minority.

  • 9 This paper does not discuss the complex and contentious debate about the (im) possibilities of defi (...)
  • 10 For African politics in general, see i.e. Bayart, J.-F., The State in Africa, 1993 or Chabal, P. an (...)

5In association with discussions related to clientelism and patronage in African politics, it is common in Kenya to explain voting patterns by invoking ethnicity.9,10 In that context, the present study questions whether the Ogiek vote can be captured within such explanatory schemes. Beyond that, the very integration of the Ogiek in the public and political affairs of the country is called into question.

6The main argument of this article is that Ogiek political participation eludes common classifications in terms of ethnically oriented voting. Whereas the decision-making process for higher elective posts can be understood as being based on an ethnic rationale, closer scrutiny reveals a more complex pattern pointing towards a phenomenon that is here defined as ‘electoral indifference’. This concept of electoral indifference will be explained throughout the text and reflected upon in the conclusion. In the elections for the local representative, however, the outcome of the 2013 election discloses a clientelistic logic transcending the ethnic rationale. Yet, the integrative capacity of this apparent affinity seems limited, encouraging the Mariashoni Ogiek to seek redress through other means.

7Departing from a definition of the Ogiek as marginalised indigenous community, the present study analyses whether and in which ways the Ogiek affiliation with the wider Kalenjin community impacts their voting behaviour. In the light of those first results, alternative understandings to the popularly advanced ‘ethnic’ argument are proposed before expanding briefly on alternative attempts of achieving political inclusion administered by members of the Ogiek community themselves.

The Ogiek: A politically marginalised indigenous community

8The claims for the recognition of minority and indigenous community rights became more pronounced with the timid opening up of a democratic space in Kenya in the early 1990s. These events influenced the Ogiek community in their formulation of an own identity and informed their subsequent fight for recognition.

Recognition and political inclusion of minorities in Kenya

  • 11 Nassali, M., ‘Movement Towards Political Inclusion’, 2011, p. 4.
  • 12 United Nations Sub-Commission on the Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities in R (...)
  • 13 Nassali, M., ‘Movement Towards Political Inclusion’, 2011, p. 5.

9Before discussing the events leading to greater minority rights, we ought to define what we mean by indigenous and minority. There are no globally recognised definitions for either of these two terms.11Following similar advances of the international scale, the African Commission, in 2005, stipulated four criteria for defining indigenous peoples: First, the occupation and use of a specific territory; second, voluntary perpetuation of cultural distinctiveness such as language, religion, spiritual values, modes of production, laws and institutions; third, self-identification as well as recognition by other groups as a collectivity; and fourth, an experience of subjugation, marginalisation, dispossession, exclusion and discrimination.12 Nassali emphasises appropriately that indigeneity within Africa goes beyond the question of ‘who came first’ but centres around exclusion, negative appraisal of alternative cultures and ways of life, as well as threats to the very survival of a specific group. Three aspects in the definition of indigenous peoples can therefore be extrapolated: existence of a distinct culture intrinsically linked with a specific territory; self-identification as being part of that distinct culture; and (perceived) negative projection of that culture with regards to mainstream (developmental) paradigms.13

  • 14 Alfredsson, G., ‘Minorities, indigenous and tribal peoples, and peoples: Definitions of terms as a (...)
  • 15 Henrard, K., ‘Devising an adequate system of minority protection’, 2001, p. 45, cited in Cottrel-Gh (...)
  • 16 Makoloo, M.O., Kenya: Minorities, Indigenous Peoples and Ethnic Diversity, 2005, p. 9.

10According to Alfredson, the term ‘minority’ also contains the idea of self-identification as belonging to a certain group, as well as the fact of having stayed within a given territory for a long period of time. The most crucial criteria however is numbers: the concerned group has to constitute less than half of a given population to be in a non-dominant position within that population.14 The Minority Rights Group defines minorities in Kenya as numerically inferior to the rest of the population of a state; in a non-dominant position; residing in the state, being either nationals or a group with close long-standing ties to the state; possessing ethnic, religious or linguistic characteristics that differ from those of the rest of the population, and show, if only implicitly, a sense of solidarity directed towards preserving their distinctive collective identity.15 Three groups of minorities are most commonly recognised: ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities. In the Kenyan context, indigenous peoples can be defined as a fourth category of minorities.16 This classification obviously is not exclusive and a given group can fall into several categories.

  • 17 Nassali, M., ‘Movement Towards Political Inclusion’, 2011, p. 6-7.

11The boundaries between indigenous and minority rights are not clearly defined either. The main difference between minority rights and indigenous peoples’ rights is that the first are individual rights whereas the latter are collective rights.17 In this context, it is important to note that indigenous groups can be minorities but that not all minorities are indigenous; at the same time, the minority title does not automatically convey marginalisation.

  • 18 Ibid., p. 162.
  • 19 In this context, it is pertinent to ascertain that minorities are not born but made according to pr (...)
  • 20 Ibid., p. 35-36.

12In Kenya, the origin of the perception of minority groups as a separate entity can be dated back to the European colonial powers’ land management policies. As prime land was forcefully acquisitioned for agricultural production, those who formerly occupied were forced into economic, social and eventually cultural marginalisation if they were not able or willing to adapt. With the introduction of private property dimensions in land tenure, previous social structures disappeared or lost validity. The colonial land use and property changes thereby led to circumstances under which certain communities were forced to identify as minorities or indigenous people, amongst other reasons to fight for their land rights.18 The minority status in Kenya is thereby not necessarily conveyed by numbers but by socio-economic marginalisation.19 Marginalisation in politics, the economy and the civil service continued in post-independent Kenya. Minority rights were far off the agenda, as in most African countries at the time, because minority rights were represented as fostering negative ethnicity and tribal division, ultimately endangering national unity. Kenya, like most African states, manifested a desire to de-culturalise and assimilate minorities into dominant cultures alongside stigmatisations of their cultures as primitive and calls for a ‘need’ of civilisation.20

  • 21 Ohenjo’s article is guiding in terms of minority recognition in Kenya. The whole paragraph is sourc (...)
  • 22 Ibid., p. 13-14.

13Before the establishment of the Centre for Minority Rights Development in the year 2000, there was no evidence of any federated group lobbying the Kenyan government on minority rights at the national level.21 Minority rights had received considerable attention on the international and continental scale. Whereas neither the UN Charter, the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights (ACHPR) nor the African Union Charter explicitly refer to minorities, the representation of minorities needing special protection is not new: the now defunct UN Sub-Commission on the Prevention of Discrimination of Minorities was created as early as 1947 and later, in 1982, established a Working Group on Indigenous Populations. Furthermore, the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues under the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) was inaugurated in 2000 and a special Rapporteur nominated. Within those forums, a number of international agreements relevant for minority rights protection were adopted. Most importantly the 1992 UN Declaration of the Rights of Persons belonging to Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities. Others are ILO Convention No. 169 of 1989 or the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in 2007. At the continental level, a similar advance was made in 2001 with the adoption of the Resolution for the Rights of Indigenous Groups by the African Commission. Kenya is state party to a number of those international and continental agreements. Yet, difficulties in their enforcement, as well as in the monitoring of compliance by state parties, have bestowed only moderate successes upon those treaties.22

  • 23 Cottrel-Ghai, J. et al., Taking Diversity Seriously, 2013, p. 1.
  • 24 Ibid., p. 2.
  • 25 Republic of Kenya, The Constitution of Kenya, 2010.
  • 26 Ghai in his preface for Makoloo, M.O., Kenya: Minorities, Indigenous Peoples and Ethnic Diversity, (...)

14In the absence of specific consideration and/or legislation, automatic representation is unrealistic for members of minority groups. Lobby groups have therefore petitioned the state to enforce special legislation to guarantee the full participation of members of minorities as citizens of the democratic state. This is because ethnic networks have the potential to convey a sense of belonging and security to minority groups which are difficult for the state to attain.23 The inclusion of minorities is thereby to engender a sense of national belonging amongst the members the groups. Since the democratic regime change in Kenya in 2002, minorities have been accorded gradual recognition on the national scale, starting with the inclusion of minority representatives in the constitutional review process in the same year. Borrowing from the initial ‘Bomas’ Draft for a new constitution, Kenya’s 2010 Constitution explicitly recognises and protects the rights of minorities for the first time in Kenyan history. Hunter-gatherers are therein defined as marginalised by virtue of their livelihood, without having to prove actual discrimination.24 With regards to political participation, Article 56 (a) specifies that the State shall ensure that minorities and marginalised groups “participate and are represented in governance and other spheres of life.”25 The constitutional review process was furthermore of importance as minority representatives decided to present their claims together as indigenous peoples’ voice instead of pursuing their interests as separate groups.26

  • 27 All three quotations from Republic of Kenya, Draft Land Policy, 2009, pp.69-71, in Ohenjo, N., ‘Par (...)

15Minority representatives also took part in the development of the new National Land Policy. To their satisfaction, the resulting policy, which was adopted in 2009, addresses historic land injustices, community rights to land and strives to protect minority rights. The land policy also notes clearly that “minority communities (…) have lost access to land and land-based resources (…) that is key to their livelihood”; that “these groups (…) deserve [sic] special protection from the State with regards to their land rights and ability to manage their natural resources in a sustainable manner”; that they “have not been represented adequately in governmental decision making at all levels”,27 while naming colonial assimilation policies and capitalism as main drivers of the marginalisation of minorities. There are further provisions allowing for the participation of minorities in local decision making processes contained in the 2005 Forest Act and the 2003 Constituency Development Fund Act; yet their influence has so far remained limited.

16In legal terms, a precedent was set when the High Court in 2008 decided that the Ilchamus hunter-gatherer group, a culturally distinct minority group, “had a right to influence the formulation and implementation of public policy, and to be represented by people belonging to the same socio-cultural and economic context as themselves” and, consequently, should be represented by a nominated Ilchamus Member of Parliament. However, most of these advances are only on paper and it remains to be seen whether they are more than paper elephants borne out of political expediency.

Historiography of the Eastern Mau Ogiek’ self-representation as politically marginalised community

  • 28 Lynch, G., I Say to You, 2011, p. 5.
  • 29 Distefano, J.A., ‘Hunters or Hunted?’ 1990, p. 51.

17The wider Kalenjin community has received little academic attention despite its prominence in the history of Kenya and in current political debates. The few available studies mainly focus on specific Kalenjin sub-groups.28 Several localised micro-studies on the Ogiek have been undertaken since the beginning of the 20th century. Most outstanding are the works of G.W.B. Huntingford since the 1920s, as well as R. Blackburn and C. Kratz both since the 1970s. Apart from Blackburn’s studies, the Kalenjin-speaking Ogiek of Mau Forest, whose political participation is analysed in this article, have not figured in any major linguistic or historical studies.29 Furthermore, beyond these classical anthropological studies, little has been written about the more recent evolutions and transformations of contemporary Ogiek societies.

  • 30 Ohenjo, N.,Kenya’s Castaways, 2003, p. 1.
  • 31 Muchemi, J. /Ehrensperger, A., Ogiek Peoples Ancestral Territories Atlas, 2011.
  • 32 As is the general use, the term ‘Ogiek‘ is used in this paper to refer to members of the community (...)
  • 33 Kratz, C.A., ‘The Okiek of Kenya’, 1999, pp. 220–224.
  • 34 Lynch, G., I Say to You, 2011, p. 5.
  • 35 Blackburn, R., ‘The Ogiek and Their History’, 1974, p. 139.
  • 36 Kratz, C.A., ‘ “Tradition” and “Innovation” in Okiek Ceremonies’, 1993, p. 37.
  • 37 Distefano, J.A., ‘Hunters or Hunted?’ 1990, p. 43.
  • 38 Towett, J., Ogiek Land Cases, 2004.
  • 39 Kratz, C.A., ‘ “Tradition” and “Innovation” in Okiek Ceremonies’, 1993, p. 37; 47.

18The Ogiek are considered as forest-based hunters and gatherers who have traditionally lived in different forest areas in western Kenya and northern Tanzania. They are arguably the largest remaining hunter-gatherer group in Kenya.30 The wider Ogiek community is composed of 12 different sub-groups, out of which three are represented in Eastern Mau. Those three sub-tribes are further subdivided into 21 clans.31 The mother tongue of the Ogiek (singular Ogiot32), also called Ogiek, is a Kalenjin language of the Southern Nilotic group.33 Due to the language-based definition of the Kalenjin, uniting all Nandi speakers, the Ogiek are understood as part of that community; their association with the Kalenjin has however been subjected to contestation by other Kalenjin and academics alike.34 The Ogiek are more commonly referred to as Dorobo, a derogatory term derived from the Maasai term ‘Il Torobbo’ designing people without cattle – who are thus understood as poor.35 Images of the Ogiek have mostly been conceived from the outside through a process of differentiation. The Ogiek are constructed antithetically as the ‘others’ following a contrasting to the self-representation of their neighbouring community.36 Due to their particular lifestyle of hunting and gathering, the Ogiek have been represented as backward people “at the end of the evolutionary scale”, or even “social outcasts”.37 Those and other connotations associated with the term Dorobo have led the ‘true’Ogiek to refute that name as it is considered to be cruel – and insist on using the term ‘Ogiek’ which supposedly signifies ‘caretaker of all animals and plants.’38 As a result of a number of factors such as long contact with other communities and environmental stress leading to further sedentarisation and adoption of small-scale farming, it is nowadays almost impossible to differentiate the Ogiek lifestyle from that of other communities. Nevertheless, other communities have continued to distinguish the Ogiek on the basis of their traditional economic activities associated with life in the forest – a characteristic that also remains crucial in the Ogiek self-representation.39

  • 40 Lynch, G., I Say to You, 2011, p. 52.
  • 41 Ag. Chief Native Commissioner Mr.A. de Wade of the Carter Land Commission in 1933, in: Sang, J. ‘Th (...)
  • 42 Towett, J., Ogiek Land Cases, 2004, Chapter 1.
  • 43 Ohenjo, N., Kenya’s Castaways, 2003,, p. 1.
  • 44 The expression of ‘in-migrants’ is derived from the fact that the Ogiek refer to non-Ogiek as ‘fore (...)
  • 45 Report of the UN Special Rapporteur on adequate housing, Miloon Kothari, E/CN.4/2005/48/Add.2, para (...)

19The “othering”40 of the Ogiek was actively pursued by the colonial government that attempted to assimilate the Ogiek and recommended their relocation in the native reserves of bigger tribes, insisting they “should become members of and [be] absorbed into the tribes with which they have most affinity.”41 Confronted with the Ogiek opposition to assimilation, various arms of the government have made numerous attempts to dispossess and relocate the Ogiek or frustrate them by imposing veterinary controls, as well as hunting and grazing bans in what the Ogiek themselves understand as an attempt “to exterminate, assimilate and impoverish them through constant evictions and disruptions of their traditional lifestyle.”42 Up to date, all Ogiek land is controlled by government land, forests and wildlife Acts.43Historically, agricultural expansion, the introduction of exotic plants, large-scale logging and the settlement of ‘in-migrants’44 contributed to the loss of their ancestral land. As land use and access were crucial to the Ogiek lifestyle, these changes became key features of their economic and political marginalisation. Furthermore, this marginalisation has had negative impacts on Ogiek housing, health and food security.45

  • 46 Ohenjo, N., Kenya’s Castaways, 2003, p. 182-183.
  • 47 Number cited as representing the figures indicated in the 2009 census in Cottrel-Ghai, J. et al., T (...)
  • 48 Information given by a contact person at the ICS, the Interim Coordinating Secretariat responsible (...)
  • 49 Information disclosed by a senior professional in an interview with a colleague in February 2013.

20This social and economic marginalisation was facilitated by the fact that the Ogiek have continuously held a minority status in the national set-up. Due to their dispersion in different areas and their statistical inclusion into the wider Kalenjin and sometimes Maasai categories, there are no clear records on the evolution of their population numbers. Until the last census, there were no available statistics on hunter-gatherers in general as the government continued to pursue non-recognition policies. For instance, the Dorobo category of 1989 includes other groups apart from the Ogiek, while the 1999 census was released without reference to ethnic affiliations. Estimates on the total Ogiek population range from 20,000 to 37,00046 and even 78,691 for Nakuru County alone.47 After their population census results were cancelled in the 2009 count, a government project linked to the Mau Forest Restoration Initiative proposed to compose an alternative Ogiek register. A number of difficulties, especially differences among the members of the government initiated Ogiek Council of Elders tasked with the supervision of the project on who should be included in the register and who should not, have hindered a timely publication of the report. Unofficial sources however indicate the register comprises around 11,000 adult Ogiek48 – a figure disputed and reduced by a connoisseur of the Ogiek who estimates the Ogiek by lineage could be as few as 5000 only.49

  • 50 Cottrel-Ghai, J. et al., Taking diversity seriously, 2013, p. 3.

21In terms of direct political representation, the Ogiek have been largely locked out of active decision-making: In Nakuru County alone, only two Ogiek councillors were in office during the last legislative period despite their presence in 52 county wards distributed over six constituencies.50 At the same time, there has never been an Ogiek in any superior elective position.

A sense of belonging? Following the lead of the wider Kalenjin community

22Despite the difficulties in their affiliation with the wider Kalenjin community, a general tendency can be observed in the voting behaviours of the Mariashoni Ogiek: alignment with the political lead of the Kalenjin big men.

Electoral choices in past elections and referendums

23Apart from oral records on election results from Mariashoni, there are few other sources that allow deeper insights into electoral practices in the past elections. As population censuses within the forest area have not been conclusive, and population figures for the Ogiek even disputed and withdrawn for the 2009 census, it becomes difficult to match the little information available with solid figures. It is thus not possible to indicate percentages of voters’ registration and election participation. The little information available relates mainly to the outcome of different elections conducted since the reintroduction of multi-party democracy in December 1991. Five general elections, including the 2013 elections, have since been conducted.

  • 51 Mariashoni was not yet an independent location in 1992 and belonged to Elburgon Location until 1997
  • 52 Interview with chief Samson Salimu, Mariashoni Centre, 27/02/2013.

24The presidential elections’ results demonstrate a trend of voting for the candidate supported by the wider Kalenjin community. In 199251 and 1997, incumbent Daniel arap Moi was confirmed in office by voters in Mariashoni. During the elections of 2002 that trend resulted in a majority of voters giving their vote to Uhuru Kenyatta, the KANU candidate and designated successor to former President Moi’s ‘throne’. In 2007, the Mariashoni voters largely opted for Raila Odinga’s ODM thereby expressing their alignment to the political line of the most important Kalenjin politicians.52 In 2002 and 2007, the Mariashoni voters thus supported the losing candidate.

  • 53 Interview with chief Samson Salimu, Mariashoni Centre, 27/02/2013; completed by ECK, Official Resul (...)

25The same pattern of voting along wider community lines can also be observed with regard to the elections for Member of Parliament: after voting for the FORD-Asili candidate John Njenga Mungai in 1992 and confirming the incumbent in office in 1997, the candidate of the party supported by the wider Kalenjin community at that time got most votes in Mariashoni thereafter: Peter Kipng’etich Sang, aspirant for KANU in 2002 and for ODM in 2007.53

26During the constitutional referendum in 2010, a majority of voters followed the ODM course and voted ‘Yes’, whereas they had voted ‘No’ in 2005, as advised by community leaders.

  • 54 It should be noted that the Mariashoni voters, and particularly the Ogiek, might have based their d (...)
  • 55 He was warned by Ogiek friends and ushered out of the area at night. Today he is operating a small (...)

27All three instances – presidential elections, MP elections and constitutional referendums – indicate the same trend: Mariashoni voters vote along the lines of the wider Kalenjin community.54 They were equally drawn into the post-election violence dynamic, attacking the homestead of the only Kikuyu remaining in the area by destroying his livestock and harvest and supposedly trying to kill him.55

  • 56 The representation of Uhuru Kenyatta as being opposed to the forest restoration is mainly informed (...)

28However, it is questionable whether the ‘ethnic’ pattern is circumstantial or substantial. Furthermore, the 2013 elections have presented a new ‘challenge’ to Mariashoni voters: As mentioned, the Ogiek had never been part of any direct political discussions or campaigns before the 2013 elections. After a section of former ODM MPs fell out with Raila Odinga over the Mau Restoration issue in the late 2000s, the Ogiek’s fate was pushed in the limelight and thereby received unprecedented attention. Being shoved into one of the centres of political attention, the Ogiek were presented with an opportunity to politicise their voting behaviour – pro or contra forest restoration and therefore pro Raila or pro Uhuru56. The following analysis will consider the possibility of issue-based electoral choices all the while examining whether the 2013 electoral experience lends credence to an interpretation of the Eastern Mau Ogiek’s electoral behaviour in ethnic terms.

Political participation in the 2013 general elections

  • 57 The ‘Ogiek-strongholds’ are polling station number 1 (Mariashoni Primary School), number 3 (Tertit (...)
  • 58 The so-called ‘in-migrant-strongholds’ are polling stations number 2 (Ndoswa Primary School), numbe (...)

29The 4th March 2013 general elections in Mariashoni were held in a tense atmosphere due to an outbreak of pre-election violence after what was commonly understood as flawed Jubilee party nominations. The exercise had not only been ill planned and executed; it also led to the exclusion of a majority of Mariashoni voters (only 1,130 out of 4,265 registered voters cast their vote, representing 26.5%). This exclusion was most pronounced for the Ogiek voters who represent a minority within the ward anyway (less than 20% of all those who had registered within the ‘Ogiek strongholds’57 were able to vote, whereas the ‘in-migrant’ areas58 recorded averages of around 30%). After a premature conclusion of the primaries, a group of Ogiek manifested their dissatisfaction with the proceeding, and particularly with the difficulty that most Ogiek inhabitants faced in participating in the exercise. Even more so, because Agnes Salimu was nominated as Jubilee candidate for the seat of Member of County Assembly (MCA) against the backdrop of the most promising Ogiek candidate’s win in Mariashoni Primary School polling station. Salimu challenges a number of taboos in the area, first by being a woman, second by being an ethnic Nandi (despite having been married to an Ogiek husband for many years, she is still not considered an Ogiek by the local community) and third, and perhaps most importantly, by being the wife of the controversial area chief. Following the declaration of her nomination, the chief’s office in Mariashoni trading centre was destroyed in a nightly attack, a number of non-Ogiek were verbally and physically assaulted and others threatened. Despite heightened police presence, no arrests were made. Thus, the nomination debacle left a stain on the local peoples’ confidence with regards to the upcoming elections. Many residents of the area, Ogiek and others alike, expressed fears of widespread commotion in case Salimu was confirmed as MCA.

Voter turnout

  • 59 Figure obtained in an interview with Joseph Mele, Constituency Elections Coordinator for Molo Const (...)
  • 60 This figure invites for speculations as to its accuracy – as no evidence is available, there is how (...)

30After achieving a registration rate of almost three quarters (4,265 persons representing 73.46%) of the targeted 5,806 adults59 in Mariashoni Ward, an impressive 83.9% (3,578 persons) turned out to cast their vote during the general elections according to official records.60 This figure is congruent in all nine polling stations that consistently recorded a voter turnout of above 80%. Translated back to the targets defined by the IEBC, a good majority of almost two thirds (61.6%) of the 5,806 targeted voters cast their vote.

31A vast majority (97.9%) of those who turned up to vote also cast their vote in a valid manner: only 3 votes were spoilt (0.1%) and 78 rejected (2.2%). The rate of rejected votes is nevertheless higher than in the wider Molo Constituency (1.0%). In sum, 60.3% out of the targets 5,806 adults in Mariashoni expressed a valid vote during the 2013 general elections.

The presidential election

32The election results for the presidential election in Mariashoni Ward indicate a clear win for Jubilee coalition’s flag bearer Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto. They won with an overall average of almost 80% of votes cast and won in seven out of the nine polling centres within Mariashoni. The final results per presidential candidate and polling stations are as follows (table 1).

Table 1: Presidential election results in different polling stations within Mariashoni Ward

Table 1: Presidential election results in different polling stations within Mariashoni Ward

* As the results are based on the Mars Group Audit, the adjusted number of 41 votes cast is used instead of the 38 indicated in IEBC’s Form 34 for Tertit polling station.
Note: Kenya Mars Group website for Mariashoni Ward; individual accounts for each stream within each polling station of IEBC Forms 34 and 36, equated with independent Mars Group Audit figures.

33These results confirm the historic pattern of following the lead of acclaimed leaders within the wider Kalenjin community when casting their vote: Thus, a vast majority of more than two-thirds (78.9%) voted for the Jubilee Coalition and thereby helped electing Uhuru Kenyatta as fourth president of the Republic. That result echoes the trends of the wider Molo constituency, where Uhuru Kenyatta officially won 85% of all valid votes – leaving Raila Odinga to be a distant second with 14.4%.

34Looking at the areas where ‘in-migrants’ are in majority, Uhuru Kenyatta won clearly in all polling stations (with percentages of between 73.9% and 96.3%). The overall win for Uhuru Kenyatta in those four polling stations was therefore also clearer (84.1%) than in the entire ward (78.9%). The allegiance of members of other Kalenjin communities to the Uhuru-Ruto alliance thus seems unambiguous.

35A closer look at the results in the so-called ‘Ogiek-strongholds’ allows for interesting insights: Whereas Uhuru Kenyatta won with a large majority (over 80%) in the two biggest out of the 6 polling stations in ‘Ogiek territory’, the two smaller ones located further inside the forest were won by Raila Odinga (two out of only three in the entire Molo Constituency) and the middle-sized one had an almost even distribution of votes between the two strongest candidates with a slight advantage of 4 votes for Uhuru Kenyatta. The overall win for Uhuru Kenyatta in those five polling stations is still considerable (73.1%) but less pronounced than in the entire ward (78.9%) and 10% below the ‘in-migrant’ stronghold average.

Other elective posts

36All other posts in Mariashoni were equally won by candidates of the Jubilee coalition. After conflicts emerged in the party primaries, separate candidates were listed for the parties forming the alliances, namely TNA and URP. It is worth mentioning another event at the local level: Salimu’s main opponent Tiemosi, whose loss against her in the TNA party primaries led to limited pre-election violence in the vicinity, changed parties and participated in the election as UDF candidate. Table 2 below indicates the results for all other posts within Mariashoni Ward and compares them with election outcomes.

Table 2: Election results for other elective posts in Nakuru County

Position

Candidates

Winner in Mariashoni

Elected candidate

President

Uhuru Kenyatta (Jubilee coal.)
Raila Odinga (CORD coal.)
Musalia Mudavadi (Amani coal.)
+ 5 others

Uhuru Kenyatta (Jubilee coal.)

Uhuru Kenyatta (Jubilee coal.)

Governor

Kinuthia Mbugua (TNA)
Francis Peter Kiranga (UDF)
Lawrence Kiprop Bomett (ODM)

Kinuthia Mbugua (TNA)

Kinuthia Mbugua (TNA)

Senator

Job Kimitei Siror (URP)
Samwel Omondi Ogada (ODM)
James Kiarie Mungai (TNA)
+ 10 others

James Kiarie Mungai (TNA)

James Kiarie Mungai (TNA)

Member of
Parliament

Samwel Mong’are Gesare (ODM)
Abdulmalik Maina Thuo (URP)
Jane Wangechi Kigotho (Agano)
Jacob Waweru Macharia (TNA)
John Muriu Mbitu (GNU)

Jacob Waweru Macharia (TNA)

Jacob Waweru Macharia (TNA)

Women Rep.

Mary Njoki G. Mbugua (TNA)
Murumbwa B. Nyabonyi (Safina)
Rose Nyakiba (ODM)
Grace Wambui Kibuku (CCM)

Mary Njoki G. Mbugua (TNA)

Mary Njoki G. Mbugua (TNA)

Member of
County Assembly

Agnes Jerotich Salimu (URP)
Solomon Kibet Tiemosi (UDF)
Nahashon Kibet Kiptoo (ODM)
Pharis Kiptoo Ngiria (KANU)
Jonathan Kipkemoi Ronoh (TNA)
Kibet Kigen (Agano Party)

Agnes Jerotich Salimu (URP)

Agnes Jerotich Salimu (URP)

37In comparison to the previous elections, Mariashoni’s residents, for the first time since the end of Moi’s presidency, largely voted for the winning candidates. It was also the first time that Kikuyu candidates were elected to secondary positions by the mostly Kalenjin electorate of Mariashoni. It was also for the first time since 2002 that the major Kalenjin leaders sided with the party to which a majority of Kikuyu leaders pledged allegiance. Furthermore, the controversial party primaries and their chaotic aftermath did not deter voters from electing Salimu. Despite widespread fears, Mariashoni remained calm after her confirmation. This might have been be due to the chief’s capacity to swiftly set up tight security in the area, which most probably helped avoiding any further escalation. Salimu was however also elected by a vast majority of voters, rendering a challenge of the vote more improbable. We present the frameworks for interpretations of these results in the following section.

Beyond ethnic arithmetic: Alternative explanations for electoral choices

38Several points ought to be addressed to explain the possible motivations for the Eastern Mau Ogiek’s electoral behaviour. First, we shall closely analyse the apparent ethnically motivated vote. The particularity of the election for the local representative is also highlighted in this section. Common alternative explanation models are subsequently examined. In the end, the overall importance of the party primaries is observed and problematised.

The ‘ethnic’ vote

39The overall voting behaviour of the Mariashoni Ogiek seems to confirm the commonly held assumption that most Kenyans vote along ethnic lines. It can therefore be argued that the quasi six-piece vote for the Jubilee Coalition is ethnically oriented, because it arguably reflects anallegiance to the ‘general’ political choices of the Kalenjin elites. However, the Ogiek ethnic association with the wider Kalenjin community is no direct predictor for electoral choices and there is no clearly ethnically motivated vote.

  • 61 In their first confrontation for the joint Jubilee seat, Job had only obtained 30 out of the 385 va (...)
  • 62 As many voters did not know who to vote for, the agents ‘advised’ them and sometimes even marked th (...)

40The first election result in question is the gubernatorial election result. In this election, the TNA Kikuyu candidate Kinuthia Mbugua got more votes than the ODM Kalenjin candidate Laurence Kiprop Bomett. While this might legitimately be understood as allegiance to the ‘ethnically backed coalition’, the senatorial election evades such an understanding. In the race for senator, a majority of Mariashoni voters cast their vote in favour of the TNA Kikuyu candidate James ‘Jemo’ Mungai despite the presence of the Kalenjin URP candidate Siror Job Kimitei.61 Both candidates were part of the same coalition supported by the wider Kalenjin community – and yet Mariashoni voters elected ‘Jemo’, a man who had never visited the area and was therefore personally unknown to a vast majority of the residents - but had won in the party primaries.62 The simple fact that a majority of Mariashoni voters elected a Kikuyu candidate - in the presence of a Kalenjin ODM candidate in the race for governor and even a Kalenjin URP candidate in the race for senator - points towards the need for understanding voters’ motivations beyond a mere ethnic arithmetic.

  • 63 It is also interesting to note that she is one out of only eight female MCAs elected within the 55  (...)
  • 64 Interview with middle-aged male resident, Mariashoni centre, 25/02/2013.
  • 65 Interview with acknowledged male Ogiek elder in his late forties, Mariashoni, 21/01/2013.
  • 66 Voiced again in an interview with a young male professional in his mid-twenties, Mariashoni centre, (...)

41The election of the Member of County Assembly (MCA) challenges an ‘ethnic’ understanding on yet another level: despite the fact that a slight majority of votes cast within Mariashoni Ward were cast by ‘in-migrants’, Agnes Salimu was supported and her victory was also brought about by Ogiek.63 A number of Ogiek supported Salimu openly; the supporters of former councillor Johnson Meopi for instance rallied behind her candidacy after his lack of success in the party nominations.64 The Ogiek thus did not vote in majority for an Ogiek candidate in the elections for local representative. One possible explanation for the Ogiek’ failure to elect an Ogiek MCA may draw on the fact that the most promising Ogiek candidate, Solomon Tiemosi, was not able to gather a majority of Ogiek votes; amidst rumours that he is radical, non-inclusive and preached negative ethnicity. As the minority candidate attracted controversy, his election to office was unlikely. Many voters seem to have perceived Salimu as only the veritable alternative to Tiemosi. Another relevant factor is that the Ogiek, as any other group of people, are not a monolithic block but a community subjected to internal fraction, particularly between those who are part of the chief’s entourage and those who are not.65 Additionally, opposing the chief has not always proved easy for Mariashoni residents. Thus, many of them might have feared opposing him (or his wife) or supporting the candidate that the chief clearly disapproved of (Tiemosi).66 Therefore, Salimu’s election into office can be understood as an expression of a clientelistic relationship by extension, with the voters banking on an inclusion into the chief’s entourage and thereby benefitting from his influence in the local political economy. This supposed patronage system on the micro-level casts doubts on the inclusion of the Mariashoni Ogiek’s integration into the wider national political context.

Alternative patterns of explanation

42Whether any of the political decisions taken by Mariashoni voters was issue-based, a second approach to explaining electoral behaviour in Kenya is questionable. According to popular belief, the Uhuru-Ruto (or ‘UhuRuto’) alliance guarantees an end of the Mau restoration program; or at least of evictions of forest-dwellers. Whether the fact that a majority of Mariashoni voters elected Uhuru Kenyatta as President was in any way linked to his perceived stand on forest policy or not is difficult to determine. In the light of the decisions taken for other elective posts, a general allegiance to the wider Jubilee Coalition is more likely than a conscious decision due to his supposed stand on forest policy. The relatively higher support for Raila Odinga in the ‘Ogiek strongholds’ in general and his victory in the most ‘pure’ Ogiek polling stations in Kiptunga and Tertit might however be based on issues. At the same time, these results might also stem from electoral continuity or be influenced by the fact that Joseph Towett, the renowned Ogiek leader, was an open supporter of ODM and Raila Odinga in the 2013 elections. As there is little issue-based political talk in Mariashoni, an issue-based approach to politics is in general rather unlikely.

43With regard to the elective posts transcending the regional sphere of influence, beyond the fact that all of them were won by the Jubilee candidates, party allegiance has no wide-ranging explanatory power as such: a majority of Mariashoni residents are neither party members nor generally voting for a particular political party. In 2002 a majority of Mariashoni voters voted for the KANU candidate, for the ODM candidate in 2007 and for the Jubilee candidate in 2013. The candidate for Member of Parliament of the respective party gathered a majority of votes each election year meaning that party allegiance can therefore be understood as circumstantial and not permanent.

  • 67 All TNA candidates who had won the Jubilee primaries were elected by a large majority of Mariashoni (...)

44While personal relations and familiarity clearly played out in the Jubilee primaries, the final results in the 2013 elections, confirming all those candidates who had been nominated in the party primaries,67 suggest that the party primaries might indeed be of central importance. It can be presumed that candidates emerging as winners in the party primaries were able to distinguish themselves as potential winners in the voters’ perceptions. Moreover, the candidates who figured in the Jubilee primaries became more ‘familiar’ to the electorate in Mariashoni after the nomination exercise. Understood within the context of Mariashoni, a remote area without electricity or general access to newspapers, where the phone, radio and personal interactions are the only means of communication, the party primaries might have served as extraordinary campaign event. As a majority of those Ogiek living deeper in the forest, especially in Tertit and Kiptunga areas where Raila Odinga won a majority of votes, were excluded of the party primaries, their less fervent support of all Jubilee candidates in general and Uhuru’s presidency in particular, might be understood in that light as well.

  • 68 In line with national proceeding, party nominations were carried out within Mariashoni location on (...)

45The party primaries might even be the single most relevant determinant of the election outcomes for higher level positions. Their prominence calls for problematisation of their implementation in an almost rule-free space.68

Conclusion

46Mariashoni is an area clearly marked by its marginality and the Ogiek can thus be described as a community that lacks trust in the political machine which, in turn, hardly allows them to understand political participation as a means of alleviating their situation. Due to its remoteness, Mariashoni is a kind of law-free zone, where citizens’ rights are hardly granted.

47In this context, the election for president is mainly interesting because of the publicity his office attracts; not because the residents believe the election outcome would make a difference to their lives in the forest. The Mariashoni residents are all too aware of their lack of attractiveness for wider political calculations and of their lack of stake in national politics. The same is true for all other elective posts: none of them are of particular importance to a majority of voters in Mariashoni. Nevertheless, voters are not apathetic towards elections and participate willingly; they are however largely indifferent as to the results of those elections.

48The only electoral position relevant to a majority of voters in Mariashoni is the one for local representative. Mariashoni voters have displayed a clear understanding of electoral proceedings and their possibility of bringing about change through their vote: none of the local representatives has even been re-elected after their first term. Voters have however also experienced that the expression of their will, even at the lowest level of representation, has had little potential to influence their daily lives: marginalisation has not been overcome through participation in elections, not even on the local level. At the same time, despite general misinformation, most people are aware of the limited power and competencies of their local representative in the national or even regional set-up. Thus, the only relevant political space is the locality, shaped by the chief’s arbitrary decisions. In this context, it is difficult to determine whether the election of his wife as MCA is an expression of a passive fear of falling in the chief’s disgrace or based on an active relationship of clientelistic exchange. Yet, her election might be understood as a deepening and further institutionalisation of a clientelistic logic applied to elections by vesting the chief’s influence in an elective mandate and hence ‘officialising’ it, thereby transcending his previous administrative function. This evolution however does not necessarily point to democratic alienation among Mariashoni voters: By adapting to institutional changes (after all the chief’s position is to cede in the current administrative and institutional re-shuffling to a devolved system of governance), his influence might in a first step be cemented, while opening a window of opportunity for voting him or his ‘legitimised’ power out in a second step in case his wife is not re-elected as MCA in 2017-8.

  • 69 For a detailed account of strategies employed to fight the dispossession of the Ogiek see Sang, J. (...)

49In light of continuous marginalisation, and the inability to bring about substantial change though elections, members of the Ogiek elites have taken to other means of political participation in the last two decades: seeking legal redress in courts. Since the mid-1990s, a group of Ogiek have been fighting the evictions from their land by taking the government to court.69 Despite significant setbacks, the Ogiek elites were able to enforce several decisions relevant to their inclusion in public and political affairs – also with regard to the 2013 elections.

  • 70 Cottrel-Ghai, J. et al., Taking Diversity Seriously, 2013, p. 5.
  • 71 TOO, Titus, “IEBC refuses to create tribal zones”, The Standard, 27 January 2012.

50A first important step was achieved in the run-up to the elections by bringing about a decision by the High Court in July 2012 that compels the IEBC to consider the rights of minority and marginalised groups and to adjust the ward boundaries so as to bring the Ogiek together, basically agreeing to the idea that the Ogiek should be able to have one of their own representing them politically.70This was an important albeit partial victory after the IEBC had previously announced it would not create tribal zones in the North Rift by giving specific wards to specific communities71, a decision nullified by the courts. Yet, the boundaries were not adapted before the 2013 elections.

  • 72 SMS from Joseph K. Towett on 29 April 2013.
  • 73 IEBC Dispute Resolution Committee, Amended Allocation of Nominees to County Assembly Special Seats, (...)
  • 74 SMS from Joseph K. Towett on 3 May 2013.

51In the aftermath of the elections, faced with the fact that neither in Mariashoni nor anywhere else a ‘real Ogiek’ was elected or nominated to the national or any county assembly, members of the community filed petition No. 177/2013 pointing out that the state had failed to assure the representation of members of the Ogiek community as provided for by Article 56 of the Constitution. The case was first mentioned on 3 May 2013.72 The following day, the IEBC published an updated list indicating that they had made changes in the four persons representing special interests to be nominated to the Nakuru County Assembly. After the initial list contained three representatives of the disabled and one of the youth, the IEBC corrected its list and included a representative of the ‘marginalised’: Joseph Miangari, an Ogiek activist from Nessuit in Eastern Mau.73 Despite this important decision obtained by IEBC, the Ogiek case is still in court and Ogiek leaders are trying to rally members of other indigenous minorities behind their case so as to present a common case74 – an important lesson learnt. This evolution manifests that devolution is used as a welcome vehicle to insist on minority interests; all the while knowing that one single Ogiek in Nakuru County Assembly will not be able to exert any real influence on decision-making processes. At the same time, the establishment and confirmation of the Ogiek identity in terms of indigenous minority group has limited impact on the peoples’ lives on the ground.

52In sum, the Mariashoni Ogiek are trapped between two distinct dynamics – seeking protection and representation on the national scale through court orders on the one hand, and responding to push and pull factors on the local scale on the other hand. These general conclusions on the sense that elections convey in Mariashoni cast doubts on the politicisation of Mariashoni residents in terms of integration in and identification with the national political and social fabric. The Mariashoni case study illustrates that voters are not apathetic towards elections and participate willingly. At the same time, it also shows that they are largely indifferent as to the outcomes of those elections, hence lending credence to the notion of electoral indifference. The case study thereby allows portraying the democratisation of rural Kenya as problematic.

This article draws extensively on research conducted in the context of my doctoral studies, as well as for the Kenya 2013 Elections project of the French Institute for Research in Africa (IFRA). This research was funded by DAAD, IFRA and the BIEA to whom I am grateful. Special thanks go to Marie-Aude Fouéré, IFRA’s deputy director, for her dedication, patience and good advice.

Bibliographie

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Notes

1 Political participation is employed in its strict confines in the present study, focusing on activities related to the electoral process. Political participation, electoral behaviour and voting behaviour are used synonymously.

2 Gurr, T. R. (ed.), People versus States, 2000.

3 Ibid. p. xiii.

4 Cottrel-Ghai, J. et al., Taking Diversity Seriously, 2013, p. 1.

5 Nassali, M., ‘Movement Towards Political Inclusion’, 2011, p. 3.

6 Field notes collected between December 2011 and March 2013.

7 Ghai, Yash, Public Participation and Minorities, 2003, p. 5.

8 Mainly carried out by the different authors belonging to the Kenyan section of Minority Rights Group International.

9 This paper does not discuss the complex and contentious debate about the (im) possibilities of defining ethnicity or ethnic groups statically. An ethnic group is here simply understood as a group of people who share certain characteristics such as language, religion, common history and culture that recognises itself as a somewhat distinct community.

10 For African politics in general, see i.e. Bayart, J.-F., The State in Africa, 1993 or Chabal, P. and J.P. Daloz, Africa Works, 1999; for Kenya specifically see i.e. Branch, D., N. Cheeseman and L. Gardner, Our Turn to Eat, 2010 or Throup, D. and C. Hornsby, Multi-Party Politics in Kenya, 1998; for specific case studies set in rural areas in African states and beyond see i.e. Bertrand, R., J.-L. Briquet, P. Pels (eds.), Cultures of Voting, 2007.

11 Nassali, M., ‘Movement Towards Political Inclusion’, 2011, p. 4.

12 United Nations Sub-Commission on the Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities in Resolution 2 (XXXIV) of 8 September, 1981, cited in Nassali, M., ‘Movement Towards Political Inclusion’, 2011, p. 5.

13 Nassali, M., ‘Movement Towards Political Inclusion’, 2011, p. 5.

14 Alfredsson, G., ‘Minorities, indigenous and tribal peoples, and peoples: Definitions of terms as a matter of international law’, in Ghanea, N. and Xanthaki, A. (eds.), Minorities, peoples and self-determination: Essays in honour of Patrick Thornberry, 2005, p. 166, in Nassali, M., ‘Movement Towards Political Inclusion’, 2011, p. 6.

15 Henrard, K., ‘Devising an adequate system of minority protection’, 2001, p. 45, cited in Cottrel-Ghai, J. et al., Taking Diversity Seriously, 2013, p. 2.

16 Makoloo, M.O., Kenya: Minorities, Indigenous Peoples and Ethnic Diversity, 2005, p. 9.

17 Nassali, M., ‘Movement Towards Political Inclusion’, 2011, p. 6-7.

18 Ibid., p. 162.

19 In this context, it is pertinent to ascertain that minorities are not born but made according to prevailing circumstances and that belonging to a minority is not static but constantly redefined and re-negotiated (Nassali, M., ‘Movement Towards Political Inclusion’, 2011, p. 8).

20 Ibid., p. 35-36.

21 Ohenjo’s article is guiding in terms of minority recognition in Kenya. The whole paragraph is sources from his article, particularly from Ohenjo, N., ‘Participation of Minorities in Kenya’, 2011, pp. 157-158; 173; 207-2012; 215-217. Additions are marked separately.

22 Ibid., p. 13-14.

23 Cottrel-Ghai, J. et al., Taking Diversity Seriously, 2013, p. 1.

24 Ibid., p. 2.

25 Republic of Kenya, The Constitution of Kenya, 2010.

26 Ghai in his preface for Makoloo, M.O., Kenya: Minorities, Indigenous Peoples and Ethnic Diversity, 2005, p. 3.

27 All three quotations from Republic of Kenya, Draft Land Policy, 2009, pp.69-71, in Ohenjo, N., ‘Participation of Minorities Making in Kenya’, 2011, p. 211.

28 Lynch, G., I Say to You, 2011, p. 5.

29 Distefano, J.A., ‘Hunters or Hunted?’ 1990, p. 51.

30 Ohenjo, N.,Kenya’s Castaways, 2003, p. 1.

31 Muchemi, J. /Ehrensperger, A., Ogiek Peoples Ancestral Territories Atlas, 2011.

32 As is the general use, the term ‘Ogiek‘ is used in this paper to refer to members of the community in singular and plural.

33 Kratz, C.A., ‘The Okiek of Kenya’, 1999, pp. 220–224.

34 Lynch, G., I Say to You, 2011, p. 5.

35 Blackburn, R., ‘The Ogiek and Their History’, 1974, p. 139.

36 Kratz, C.A., ‘ “Tradition” and “Innovation” in Okiek Ceremonies’, 1993, p. 37.

37 Distefano, J.A., ‘Hunters or Hunted?’ 1990, p. 43.

38 Towett, J., Ogiek Land Cases, 2004.

39 Kratz, C.A., ‘ “Tradition” and “Innovation” in Okiek Ceremonies’, 1993, p. 37; 47.

40 Lynch, G., I Say to You, 2011, p. 52.

41 Ag. Chief Native Commissioner Mr.A. de Wade of the Carter Land Commission in 1933, in: Sang, J. ‘The Ogiek in Mau Forest’, 2003, p. 118.

42 Towett, J., Ogiek Land Cases, 2004, Chapter 1.

43 Ohenjo, N., Kenya’s Castaways, 2003,, p. 1.

44 The expression of ‘in-migrants’ is derived from the fact that the Ogiek refer to non-Ogiek as ‘foreigners’ in English and ‘wageni’ (guests) in Swahili. That term designates persons who have settled in the forest since the mid-1990s and mainly belong to the wider Kalenjin community, including Kipsigis, Tugen, Nandi and sometimes also Kamba and Kisii. Due to the somewhat derogatory connotation of the term, it is used in quotation marks.

45 Report of the UN Special Rapporteur on adequate housing, Miloon Kothari, E/CN.4/2005/48/Add.2, para. 61, cited by Anaya, J., ‘Alleged Eviction of the Ogiek’, 2010.

46 Ohenjo, N., Kenya’s Castaways, 2003, p. 182-183.

47 Number cited as representing the figures indicated in the 2009 census in Cottrel-Ghai, J. et al., Taking Diversity Seriously, 2013, p. 3.

48 Information given by a contact person at the ICS, the Interim Coordinating Secretariat responsible for the coordination of Mau restoration activities, who does not want to be cited in person.

49 Information disclosed by a senior professional in an interview with a colleague in February 2013.

50 Cottrel-Ghai, J. et al., Taking diversity seriously, 2013, p. 3.

51 Mariashoni was not yet an independent location in 1992 and belonged to Elburgon Location until 1997.

52 Interview with chief Samson Salimu, Mariashoni Centre, 27/02/2013.

53 Interview with chief Samson Salimu, Mariashoni Centre, 27/02/2013; completed by ECK, Official Results, 29/01/2008.

54 It should be noted that the Mariashoni voters, and particularly the Ogiek, might have based their decisions on the constitutional drafts on actual issues: Among other things, Article 43 recognising the rights of minorities and indigenous peoples of the previous ‘Bomas draft’ had been deleted in the altered ‘Wako draft’ presented for referendum in 2005 - whereas the clause found its way back into the 2010 Constitution (Ohenjo, N., Kenya’s Castaways, 2003, p. 196-197).

55 He was warned by Ogiek friends and ushered out of the area at night. Today he is operating a small restaurant in Mariashoni trading centre located in a shelter provided by the Rudi Nyumbani Initiative of the Ministry for Special Programmes (Interview with middle-aged Kikuyu man who has lived in Mariashoni all his life, Mariashoni centre, 12/02/2013).

56 The representation of Uhuru Kenyatta as being opposed to the forest restoration is mainly informed by his association with William Ruto who had been an outspoken opponent of evictions in the Mau Forest. Kenyatta never took a clear stand on matters involving forest conservation.

57 The ‘Ogiek-strongholds’ are polling station number 1 (Mariashoni Primary School), number 3 (Tertit Nursery School), number 6 (Kapcholola Nursery School), number 7 (Kaprop Nursery School) and number 8 (Kiptunga Nursery School).

58 The so-called ‘in-migrant-strongholds’ are polling stations number 2 (Ndoswa Primary School), number 4 (Rombei Primary School), number 5 (Oinobtich Primary School) and number 9 (Lawina Primary School).

59 Figure obtained in an interview with Joseph Mele, Constituency Elections Coordinator for Molo Constituency, Molo, 19/12/2012.

60 This figure invites for speculations as to its accuracy – as no evidence is available, there is however no legitimate basis for claiming fraud.

61 In their first confrontation for the joint Jubilee seat, Job had only obtained 30 out of the 385 valid votes cast in Mariashoni Primary (including the four other stations mentioned).

62 As many voters did not know who to vote for, the agents ‘advised’ them and sometimes even marked the voters’ ballot papers. The agents followed a pattern and advised the voters in turns. As only three out of the ten aspirants for senator had sent agents, these three aspirants gathered most votes in Mariashoni accounting together for 277 out of 385 valid votes (71.9%) with James Kiarie Mungai (‘Jemo’) emerging as winner (Interview with a group of party agents in Mariashoni Centre on 21/01/2013).

63 It is also interesting to note that she is one out of only eight female MCAs elected within the 55 wards of Nakuru County (Obiria, Moraa, “Nakuru county assembly to get 16 more women”, The Star, 22 March 2013).

64 Interview with middle-aged male resident, Mariashoni centre, 25/02/2013.

65 Interview with acknowledged male Ogiek elder in his late forties, Mariashoni, 21/01/2013.

66 Voiced again in an interview with a young male professional in his mid-twenties, Mariashoni centre, 25/01/2013.

67 All TNA candidates who had won the Jubilee primaries were elected by a large majority of Mariashoni voters in the general elections; even those who had not gathered a majority of their votes in the primaries.

68 In line with national proceeding, party nominations were carried out within Mariashoni location on Thursday, 18 January 2013; with the Jubilee coalition being the only one to carry out primaries. Confusion accompanied the primaries in Mariashoni Ward as five out of the nine polling stations were assembled together in Mariashoni Primary School polling station the very day of the exercise: Those who had registered as voters in registration centres deeper in the forest – namely Kiptunga, Kapcholola, Kaprop and Tertit - were therefore compelled to attend party primaries in Mariashoni Primary School – at a distance of up to 30 km from their original polling centres. Due to a lack of capacity and planning, a majority of voters were locked out of the exercise: only 413 out of the 1,992 listed voters in those ‘Ogiek-strongholds’ were able to cast a vote. In total, 1,130 out of the 4,265 registered voters within Mariashoni Ward cast a vote – out of which almost two thirds (717 persons representing 63.5%) in ‘in-migrant’ strongholds. This imbalance is a clear testimony to the Ogiek’s restricted possibility to fully participate in the nomination exercise. Unconfirmed cases of rigging and cheating were also reported in different polling centres within Mariashoni Ward. Whereas the course of action in Mariashoni might have been influenced by the chief in order to favour his wife for the MCA position, the Mariashoni voters had little influence on the nomination of candidates for higher offices. Sporadic observations in other polling stations within Nakuru County however indicate similar difficulties in the implementation of the party primaries (field observation; interview with a group of party agents in Mariashoni Centre on 21/01/2013.

69 For a detailed account of strategies employed to fight the dispossession of the Ogiek see Sang, J. ‘The Ogiek in Mau Forest’, 2003; Towett, J., Ogiek Land Cases, 2004.

70 Cottrel-Ghai, J. et al., Taking Diversity Seriously, 2013, p. 5.

71 TOO, Titus, “IEBC refuses to create tribal zones”, The Standard, 27 January 2012.

72 SMS from Joseph K. Towett on 29 April 2013.

73 IEBC Dispute Resolution Committee, Amended Allocation of Nominees to County Assembly Special Seats, 4 May 2013 and accompanying document entitled Amendments made to the nomination list following the complaints and the decision of the IEBC committee, 4 May 2013.

74 SMS from Joseph K. Towett on 3 May 2013.

Table des illustrations

Titre Table 1: Presidential election results in different polling stations within Mariashoni Ward
Légende * As the results are based on the Mars Group Audit, the adjusted number of 41 votes cast is used instead of the 38 indicated in IEBC’s Form 34 for Tertit polling station.Note: Kenya Mars Group website for Mariashoni Ward; individual accounts for each stream within each polling station of IEBC Forms 34 and 36, equated with independent Mars Group Audit figures.
URL http://books.openedition.org/africae/docannexe/image/1492/img-1.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 31k

Auteur

Lisa Fuchs is a doctoral student at the Institute for Social and Cultural Anthropology at the University of Cologne. She is also affiliated to IFRA Nairobi and member of the 2013 elections working group.

© Africae, 2014

Conditions d’utilisation : http://www.openedition.org/6540

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