Interethnic Coexistence among the Luo, the Kipsigis and the Kisii in Sondu area in Kenya
Daily interaction of society members in a given locality is based on their level of acceptance and recognition of one another as distinct and unique individuals. Interethnic coexistence refers to the existence of different ethnic groups in the same place with the aim of achieving a well defined goal hannoniously. The study revolved around Sondu area which is a cosmopolitan region covering three districts namely: - South Nyakach, Kericho West and Nyamira districts. These districts are mainly populated by the Luo, the Kipsigis and the Kisii ethnic groups who usually converge in 'Sondu' to do business. Sondu is well known for its booming trading market which attracts many people from both Nyanza and Rift Valley provinces. Sondu area is also known for its incidences of conflict which occur mainly during national general elections when ethnic animosity is ignited among the ethnic groups that reside in the region. However, apart from these occasional ethnic skirmishes, there is a remarked harmonious living which is interestingly important. The study focused ,on assessing the nature of interethnic coexistence among the Luo, the Kipsigis and the Kisii who comprise the major occupants of Sondu in embracing community cohesiveness and improved communication between the coexisting ethnic groups. The study was guided by four objectives, namely: to determine how the Kipsigis, the Kisii and the Luo perceive one another; to identify the underlying contributions to coexistence among the groups; to investigate the causes and nature of interethnic conflicts among the Kipsigis, the Kisii and the Luo and to assess how the interethnic conflicts are resolved. Care was taken to ensure representation thus both probability and non-probability sampling methods were used. A sample size of 150 households was randomly picked from the region. To ensure ethnic representation, 50 individuals from each ethnic group were randomly picked and were interviewed on a face to face interview using a structured questionnaire. Key informant interviews and focus group discussions were also used to fill in the knowledge gap, thus six key informants who were purposively selected to participate in the study included the DO, Community policing chairperson, CBO chairman, DPC secretary, school head and retired civil servant. Focus group discussion was conducted with nine community elders randomly selected using focus group discussion guide.