Luo ethnic factor in the 1979 and 1983 elections in Bondo and Gem, Kenya
Alila, Patrick O.
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This discussion is based on the prior analysis of social transformation in Luoland with specific reference to Bondo and Gem. It is aimed at demonstrating the role of Luo ethnic factor in modern elections, in particular the 1979 and 1983 General Elections in the two constituencies. The discussion reveals a dominant role of Luo ethnic factor in these elections. This is particularly tine regarding participation in elections in that organisation of the electorate is based on clan allegiance under the influence of elders. Likewise, in terms gaining a leadership position clan support is significant. It is however not sufficient because there is also a consideration of modern elements especially the contribution by the leadership aspirant to development effort in the constituency. This latter consideration can be said to form a basis of influence of the educated elite in electoral politics, while the elders derive their influence from traditional norms. The evidence shows that local leadership comprising both the elders and the educated elite play a crucial role in election campaigns. By the way they interpret the election issues they also determine the outcome of elections. A major issue indicating this is the political position of Odinga in Luoland which has contributed to the rise and fall of various political leaders in a number of constituencies in Luoland not just in Gem and Bondo. This has resulted in personality cult in which ethnicity is a crucial variable and has become prominent feature of Luo politics.