The Kenya 1997 general elections in Maasailand: of 'sons' and 'puppets' and how KANU defeated itself

TitleThe Kenya 1997 general elections in Maasailand: of 'sons' and 'puppets' and how KANU defeated itself
Publication TypeBook Chapter
Year of Publication2001
AuthorsM.M.E.M. Rutten
EditorM.M.E.M. Rutten, A. Mazrui, and F. Grignon
Secondary TitleOut for the count : the 1997 general elections and prospects for democracy in Kenya
Pagination405 - 440
Date Published2001///
Publication Languageeng
Keywords1997, elections, Kenya, Masai, politics

This chapter reviews Maasai politics from the beginning of the 20th century until the Kenya general elections of 29-30 December 1997. It describes Maasai politics in the colonial days (1900-1963) and in the early years after independence (1963-1983), the rise of new political leaders in Maasailand in the period 1983-1992, shifting alliances and the emergence of Maasai nationalism in the 1990s, the role of Maasai traditional leaders, and the preamble to the 1997 elections in Maasailand, particularly Kajiado District. It shows that, in the end, the power struggle among the Maasai has always been centred on safeguarding access to resources (land, water, jobs). Sections, subclans and age groups play a significant role in the outcome of this political fight. However, no easy voting lines can be pointed out, as individual interests play a major role. Multipartyism opened the eyes of many firm KANU believers in Kajiado District, when the ruling party they had supported for many years 'rigged' out their 'sons'. As a result, KANU is no longer the natural option for the Maasai electorate. However, whether the opposition will be able to consolidate its position in Maasailand remains to be seen. Bibliogr., notes, ref

IR handle/ Full text URL
Citation Key1151