Devolution as panacea to deeply divided multi-ethnic (National) states: the Kenyan example
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One of the quintessential concerns of African governance and statecraft is the management of differences. This paper contends that the appropriate theoretical paradigm for assessing post-colonial statecraft in Africa is Ali Mazrui’s Triple Heritage, rather than Max Webber’s principle of the “monopoly of the legitimate use of physical force,” which has been extensively used for the purpose. According to Mazrui, Africa’s experience of state-formation should be understood at the confluence of the continent’s broader triple heritage of history and culture, which encompasses indigenous, Islamic, and Euro-Christian roots. For this reason, the paper argues that tribes or ethnicities in Kenya should be thought of as nations inhered with some semblance of the right to self-determination. It then proposes that devolution in Kenya can be a panacea to the questions of deep division associated with ethnic-based politics. Finally, it maintains that the quasi-ethnic federalism that the Kenyan devolution presents can also be a panacea to the deep tribal schisms witnessed in the country since independence.