The book provides an overview of the troubled process of nation-building in post-colonial Kenya. Despite the distinctive features of the Moi and Kenyatta regimes, contributors make the case that since the late colonial period continuity, and not change, has been the dominant theme in Kenyan political life. Through a range of methodological lenses and empirical material, the chapters highlight different aspects of this continuity: the strength of the provincial administration, the weakness of formal party structures, the central role of ethnicity in shaping political competition, the understanding of the state as a resource in itself, and the ultimately incompatible beliefs held by different communities regarding how power can be legitimately exercised. Taken together, the persistence of these factors over time helps to explain the failure of the nation-building project in Kenya, and the context within which disputed elections in late-2007 could lead to the collapse of political order and the deaths of over 1,000 Kenyans
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