Battles over boundaries - contested devolution in Kenya and Uganda

Researcher: Anders Sjögren
Project started in 2016

This project analyses when and why, in contexts of formal but contested devolution, political parties and social movements make demands for distinctions between insiders and outsiders at the sub-national level, and studies these issues in Kenya and Uganda. In societies characterised by deep-running political divisions, inequalities and exclusion, the issue of how to organise and distribute political power impacts hugely on stability. Devolution of power and resources to sub-national entities is often promoted as a remedy for problems of exclusion. However, changes in territorial demarcation and relocation of authority set off struggles over who should exercise what power, how and where. At the same time, fluid political identities frequently conflict with the scope of territorial and authority structures. Drawing on interviews, policy documents and legislation, the projects analyses when and why political parties and social movements make demands for identity-specific territorial units and political representation. It seeks to contribute to theoretical development with regard to how struggles over territory and identity at the sub-national level are shaped by the interplay between formal and informal institutions and boundaries.

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