The role of Psycho-cultural factors in ethnic conflicts in Africa: the case of Kenya 1990-2009
The post cold war era witnessed an upsurge of internal conflicts not only in Africa but internationally. These internal conflicts were basically ethnic in nature whose consequences and costs have been a subject of concern to scholars, researchers and policy makers alike. There is hardly any part of the African continent where violent ethnic conflict has not been witnessed. The violent ethnic conflicts have far reaching consequences in terms of socio-economic growth and development of African states, development and growth of democratic states, violation of the fundamental human and community rights, psycho-social consequences, .emergence of internally displaced persons and refugees, environmental degradation made worse by the vagaries of climate change. This study critically analysis the role of psycho-cultural elements/attributes as causal factors of ethnic conflicts in Africa, the case of Kenya from 1990- 2009. Psychological and cultural attributes are deeply rooted in individual and ethnic groups and influences their behavior. The study postulates that the deep-seated psychological and cultural differences, perceptions of discrimination, fear of domination, of exclusion in a competitive socio-economic and political environment, the use of ethnic identity in the struggle for scarce resources, stereotyping and denigration have contributed to the ethnic violence that African states have experienced and continue to experience. The individuals and ethnic groups should be the unit of analysis with a view to unearthing the deep-rooted nature of these perceptions and dispositions.