Facing Mount Kenya or Facing Mecca? The Mungiki, ethnic violence and the politics of the Moi succession in Kenya, 1987–2002
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Kenya's return to pluralist politics in the early 1990s saw the eruption of political violence that has since laid siege to human rights and democracy. This article discusses the Mungiki movement which, like the Mau Mau movement that waged armed struggle against the British in the 1950s, has sprouted among the Kikuyu. It examines Mungiki within the broader theoretical context of competitive electoral politics and political violence in contemporary Kenya. In addition to tracing the movement's religious and ideological roots, the article shows how ‘informal repression’ or quasi‐legitimization of sectarian violence for political ends by the state, has transformed a ‘moral ethnic’ movement into a ‘politically tribal’ one. As a contribution to the academic debate on Mungiki, the article draws on the rich public debate in Kenya and the author's close study of the movement in 2001–2.