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date: 05 June 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter examines the impact of devolution on North Eastern Kenya through the lens of the “center/periphery” divide. First of all, it will briefly highlight the political and economic context of the region prior to devolution in 2010. It will then move on to an analysis of how the region has been thrust into the center of national politics and development discourse in the devolution era. More specifically, I argue that the new focus on county politics and Kenya’s Vision 2030 economic plan have dovetailed to give the region a new political and economic relevance. The second part of the chapter then delves into county-level politics, exploring how the ethnic matrix has been reconfigured following the 2013 elections and what this has meant for post-devolution politics and development. Particularly important is the amplification of ethnic-based politics and emergence of council of elders, which have contributed to exclusion, resentment, and violence. Generally, while devolution has led to new opportunities for North Eastern Kenya, life remains precarious due to a variety of factors that I reflect on at the end of the chapter.

Keywords: North Eastern, devolution, development, politics, ethnicity, patronage, conflict

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