The role of Low education levels in African Ethnic conflicts: a case study of Kenya, 1992-2008
Ethnic conflicts have been a major problem in Africa. Ethnic groups in Africa have been fighting over various issues ending up leaving a trail of destruction behind. In all these conflicts, elites have played a central role in igniting and sustaining them. They are the ones who mobilize ethnic masses into conflicts which end up benefiting the same elites. This is pegged on the instrumentalism theory of ethnic conflicts. What has been leaving all interested parties wondering is why these ethnic masses are vulnerable to these manipulations. This is why this study intends to investigate whether these masses are easily manipulated because of their low levels of education. Africa is a continent known for high levels of illiteracy. Could this be the reason why ethnic conflicts are rife? In pursuing this objective, Kenya, as a case study, was investigated. Secondary data as well as primary data was analyzed. Primary data was collected from those areas considered to be among the hot spots of ethnic conflicts in Kenya. Secondary data was collected from scholarly materials, various official reports as well as from newspapers and magazines. From this study, it came out that low levels of education have nothing to do with ethnic conflicts. Those who engage in these conflicts are a mixture of both the educated and uneducated, lowly educated and highly educated as well as school drop outs. In fact, some elites are less educated compared to the people they incite. What enables the elites to manipulate the masses is the wealth they own as compared to the economically poor masses. The masses themselves are also greedy, just like the elites and this meeting of greed makes the ignition and sustenance of ethnic conflicts easy. Therefore, low levels of education have no role to play and the ethnic masses manipulated are not entirely innocent.