Skip to Main Content
Have library access? Log in through your library
Kenya: The Politics of Participation and Control

Kenya: The Politics of Participation and Control

Henry Bienen
Copyright Date: 1974
Pages: 236
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Kenya: The Politics of Participation and Control
    Book Description:

    Kenya has been the object of much controversy among students of African politics. Some view it as one of the greatest "successes" of the post-independence period; others see it as an example of all that is wrong with African development. Henry Bienen approaches this controversy by asking whether the concept of political participation has been properly understood in the African context.

    His case study of political participation in Kenya discusses administration, party politics, ethnicity, and class. He suggests that in a system dominated by elites, individuals and groups exert influence primarily through patron-client networks and local administrative and party organs. Local politics is the most important arena for most people, it is argued. As long as the regime adopts policies which maximize economic growth and take account of peasant middle and small holders, and as long as individual representatives can be replaced even though no change of regime occurs, limited political participation leads to political stability.

    Originally published in 1977.

    ThePrinceton Legacy Libraryuses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-6734-9
    Subjects: History, Political Science

Table of Contents

Export Selected Citations Export to NoodleTools Export to RefWorks Export to EasyBib Export a RIS file (For EndNote, ProCite, Reference Manager, Zotero, Mendeley...) Export a Text file (For BibTex)
  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Acknowledgments
    (pp. vii-viii)
    Henry Bienen
  3. Table of Contents
    (pp. ix-ix)
  4. List of Tables
    (pp. x-2)
  5. I Introduction: Kenya and the Problem of Political Participation
    (pp. 3-24)

    Kenya has been a country of great interest to students of African politics. Kenya and the Ivory Coast together have been to some observers signal “success stories” after independence. Kenya, like the Ivory Coast, has had more than a respectable rate of growth in gross domestic product Both countries have had neighbors to contrast them to.Ghana and the Ivory Coastis already the title of a book.¹Kenya and Tanzaniais sure to follow and the comparisons between the two East African countries are many.² And both Kenya and the Ivory Coast have opted for seemingly clear strategies of...

  6. II Describing Kenya: Administrative and Political Control
    (pp. 25-65)

    I have noted that Kenya has become a controversial country and a symbol of progressive or regressive political and economic evolution and social and economic development, depending on one’s point of view and interpretation of the data.¹ Yet there is rather a large amount of agreement on describing Kenya’s economy, society, and political institutions. There is less agreement in explaining the features described: why did political institutions evolve in a particular pattern or why did a given economic strategy evolve? There is also less agreement on the relationship of economic and political factors. How, for example, has a fragmented ruling...

  7. III Describing Kenya: Party Politics
    (pp. 66-130)

    Just as commentators on the Kenya scene have stressed the strength of the Civil Service and the provincial administration in particular, they have invariably noted the weakness of party and the fragmentation of KANU in Kenyan political life. Discussions of KANU have stressed its inability to frame policy or to function as a channel of demands upward or orders downward. Indeed, politicians, civil servants, social scientists have gone so far as to deny KANU any meaningful role in Kenya or even to attribute to it an existence beyond a nominal one.

    If KANU has no political meaning, we must ask:...

  8. IV Ethnicity and Class
    (pp. 131-182)

    Communal solidarities have not been breached as yet in Kenya. Indeed, economic development and social change seem to have given greater salience to ethnic considerations through migration patterns and the unevenness of change.¹ The income and educational disparities that we noted at the outset of this study obviously work to accentuate ethnic divisions. Intertribal conflict can be economically based rather than rest on “traditional” animosities. Nonetheless, conflict in society can be perceived as being ethnic rather than occupational or class. Sklar argues that tribalism in new states should be treated as a dependent variable and not as a primordial political...

  9. V Conclusion: Support for the Regime
    (pp. 183-196)

    Kenya is not a society free from severe ethnic and economic tensions. Kenya’s ruling institutions do not operate smoothly to deal with the country’s problems. Nonetheless, despite the extreme ethnic tensions, despite a faction-ridden political system, the Kenyan regime has maintained a strong base of support.

    Population growth cannot be absorbed by the urban sector and it creates tremendous difficulties for Government. The cities cannot accommodate vast numbers of would-be migrants and permanent jobs cannot be found for all those already in the towns. Land consolidation and land resettlement did not solve Kenya’s rural problems. They did not end land...

  10. Selected Bibliography
    (pp. 197-212)
  11. Index
    (pp. 213-215)
  12. Back Matter
    (pp. 216-222)