Abstract and Keywords
This chapter sheds light on the nature and dynamics of politics in the eastern region of Kenya. More specifically, it develops the notion of “bridesmaid politics,” which has characterized this region throughout Kenya’s post-Independence experience. This refers to the way in which leaders from the region have never held the presidency themselves but have sustained successive regimes (led by political leaders from other parts of the country) by playing the role of “bridesmaid” while never actually being the “bride.” Through the theoretical lens of clientelism, the chapter elaborates on the region’s political players and intrigues, and discusses the reason that it has yet to secure power in its own right. Further, the chapter discusses how the politics and political theatre of Eastern Kenya has evolved since the advent of the devolved system of government occasioned by the 2010 constitutional and the two general elections (one in 2013 and the other in 2017) that have been held under it. Finally, the socio-political ramifications of devolution are considered, and related to developments in the national political scene over the same period.
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