The article analyses the relationship between ethnicity and political pluralism in Kenya, exploring the post-independence political process with a focus on the democratic transition of the past 20 years. The paper argues that political ethnic mobilisation and violence cannot be appreciated without considering the fragmentation of the political elite and their struggle for the control of public assets such as land. The article concludes by looking at the 2007 post-election crisis – the worst outbreak of violence in Kenyan history – and, examining the past five years, it provides an assessment of the recent 2013 elections and democratic progress thus far.
*Andrea Rigon works at the Development Planning Unit, University College London. He is currently working on the DFID-funded initiative Participate: knowledge from the margins.