Devolution, Shifting Centre-periphery Relationships and Conflict in Northern Kenya
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This article examines changing patterns of governance characterised by devolution as well as other developments associated with shifting centre-periphery relationships and their influences on conflict in northern Kenya. Kenya's 2010 constitutional reforms laid the ground for political devolution as a way to stem national-level political conflict as well as redress regional inequalities and historic marginalisation, particularly of the country's north. Counties in northern Kenya have benefitted from a windfall of public resources under devolution, coinciding with an influx of national and global investment in the region's infrastructure and resources. These parallel dynamics have raised the political stakes at the county-level as well as the spectre of a whole host of new tensions arising from people's expectations for jobs, contracts and greater economic opportunities. Focussing on Turkana County, the article finds that while levels of conflict have increased in northern Kenya since 2010, devolution enmeshes with other factors that define the region's changing relationship with the centre, including resource and infrastructural development as well as Al-Shabaab violence. These result in place-specific dynamics, creating a patchwork topography of conflict, confounding assumptions that there is a clear and unambiguous relationship between devolution, inter-communal relations and conflict.
CitationJeremy Lind, Devolution, shifting centre-periphery relationships and conflict in northern Kenya, Political Geography, Volume 63, 2018, Pages 135-147, ISSN 0962-6298, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.polgeo.2017.06.004
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