The gender dimensions of the violent electoral conflict in Kenya: a case study of Kibera Slum in Nairobi
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In the violent electoral conflict in Kenya that occurred between 30th December 2007 and zs' February 2008, several groups are distinctly identifiable on the basis of common issues and interests with underlying economic, ethnic and political factors. These groups generally came together under two main political parties to the conflict namely the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) and the Party of National Unity (PNU) Within the groups were smaller sub groups united around common goals and interests. Despite the numerical strength making up over 52% of the population of Kenya, women as actors in the conflict defied the homogeneity of their gender and did not form a separate sub group distinct from those identified above. Women therefore shared the unique attributes, values and principles of association of the various groups and sub groups that coalesced around common interests, goals and values in the conflict. Despite the diversities and uniformities above, gender concerns have, upon prioritization of issues in the conflict, been engulfed by wider group interests and do not rank highly in the assessment of the extent .of homogeneity of a society or part of a society in conflict or as an important factor for consideration in the resolution process. This main thesis of this paper is that the violent electoral conflict in Kenya affected women and men differently; and that these differences have not been given due regard in the resolution processes. The paper predicates that this failure to reflect the gender dimensions in the conflict resolution processes is a result of issues that predate the violent electoral conflict and are embedded in the structures of the Kenyan society.
University of Nairobi, Kenya