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Date of Award

Spring 2014

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science


Political Science

First Advisor

Prof. Reo Matsuzaki

Second Advisor

Prof. Isaac Kamola


In Kenya, all multiparty-elections since 1992 have resulted in post-election ethnic violence. There was, however, a puzzling peace following the 2013 election. Previously assumed rigid ethnic identities suddenly seemed flexible and accepting. To explore inter-ethnic relations between three ethnic groups in conflict since 1992, I took advantage of a natural experiment in inter-ethnic contact afforded by rural to urban migration. I collected original empirical data from 222 interviews from three homogeneous ethnic villages and Nakuru, an ethnically heterogeneous city. Findings suggest only Kalenjins and Luos significantly become tolerant towards each other, while Kalenjins and Kikuyus and Kikuyus and Luos remain highly tolerant and intolerant, respectively, even after coming in contact. The cultural differences between Luos and Kikuyus also make them hostile towards each other, while the other two dyads remain unaffected. But all three dyads showed significant political and social tolerance changes in their relationships by social and political, respectively. Implications include a return to seriously consider objective differences as sources of conflict, a need to assess the socialization process between tribes, and establishing how community and political leaders collude in ethnic voting.


Senior Thesis completed at Trinity College for the degree of Bachelor of Science in Economics and political science. Full-text access is restricted to the Trinity Campus community.