Malice in Maasailand: The historical roots of current political struggles

Hughes, Lotte (2005). Malice in Maasailand: The historical roots of current political struggles. African Affairs, 104(415) pp. 207–224.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1093/afraf/adi033

Abstract

Current struggles for power, land and resources in Kenyan Maasailand can only be understood in a 100-year context, by returning to the forced moves and land losses of the 1900s and closely examining subsequent complaints about their alleged illegality and long-term impacts. Drawing upon archival research and oral testimony, this article explains why the Maasai community's sense of loss and betrayal is so enduring. Maasai grievances stem from a feeling that they have been betrayed by the British, from the political ambitions of particular Maasai leaders, and from historical divisions between different groups of Maasai. Entangled with all these reasons for grievance is the use of history and myth in constructing nationalist and bounded identities.

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