1.8 Theoretical framework
There has been a propagation of study on cultural conflicts. Numerous social science models have been put forward to enlighten the incidence of cultural conflicts. This research will make use of two theories; structural functionalism theory and greed versus grievance theory. The main proponents of greed versus grievance theory include Anke Hoeffler and Paul Collier. Structural functionalism’s main proponents include Herbert Spencer (1820-1903) and Talcott Parsons (1902-1979).
Structural-functionalism as a theory focuses on society as an object in which all the components worked together, accommodatingly and cohesively for the benefit of the overall society. Structural functionalists suggest that society is a system that encompassed social structures, organisations, or roles. To them, society is like an organism and is made up of structures called social institutions. The functionalists emphasized the functions within the structure of the main parts of society and the contributions of each for the overall society’s survival and growth. These institutions were specially structured so that they performed diverse functions on behalf of society. This theory attempts to provide an explanation on how human society is organized and what each of the various social institutions does in order for society to continue existing. Structural functionalism theory will be used to explain the role played by the Kipsigis and Kisii social institutions in fuelling cross-border conflicts.
According to Mafeje, the result of being unified and interdependent, one organ affected the others and ultimately the whole. The whole also affected one or all the communal organisations. The strength of this theory is that it emphasizes the necessity of components within society. All components of society have functions in order to survive for example, the age-set system among the Kipsigis and Kisii had traditionally served for many years to ensure that there was always a standing army which protected the community during war, extended territorial boundaries, and carried out raids for more livestock among others. Traditionally, religious institutions also had a cultural function among both the Kipsigis and the Kisii. For example, the institutions of the prophets, medicine men, council of elders, and diviners had cultural functions during periods of peace and periods of war.
According to Hirshleifer, greed and grievance theories’ focus move from the cohesion emphasis of structural functionalism and focuses more on the inevitable conflict within society. This theory show how conflict is manifested in activities that have greed orientation among the Kipsigis and Kisii communities. Consequences of greed are grievances which in most cases lead to misunderstandings. The theory argues that the worriers in conflicts are motivated by a desire to better their situation and perform an informal cost-benefit analysis in examining if the rewards of joining the conflict are greater than not joining.
Hirshleifer further argues that grievance stands for the argument that people go into conflict over issues of identity such as ethnicity, religion, social and class, and not necessarily over economies. In this theory, conflicts are caused by the worriers’ desire for self-enrichment such as economic gain through the control of goods and resources or by increased power within a given community. Resources that can be raided are sources of conflicts. The principle assumption underlying this theory is that all members in society do not have the same values, interest or expectations. These varied according to one’s position, privileges, ability, class and wealth. These would lead to the struggle over scarce but valuable resources and opportunities which result in divisions in communities and eventually manifest themselves in conflicts. Greed versus grievance theory directly guides the cross-border conflicts of the Kipsigis and Kisii of Sotik-Borabu in Bomet and Nyamira sub-counties respectively. The theory shows that the raiders in the case of cattle rustling- a major source of conflicts are more motivated to control resources. Greed versus grievance theory will give the researcher an opportunity to assess the role played by greed for resources such as land, cattle and grazing fields in the Kipsigis-Gusii cross-border conflicts.
Cattle raiding are a cultural practice in both communities. This study will assess how this culture serves to bring about cross-border conflicts. The research will examine resources in both Kipsigis and Gusii land in the area and apply the greed versus grievance theory to analyze the roles these resources repeatedly play in the Kipsigis-Gusii cultural conflicts. Other community structures that will be studied in relation to the cross-border conflicts included socio-political system and socio-economic systems.
The theories will thus be used in explaining how greed by a number of individuals/ institutions including the socio-political institutions have led to cross-border conflicts in the area by creating grievances on the opposing communities through actions like raids or territorial claims, aimed at individual or small-group satisfaction. The idea that individual actions affect the whole community and the values of whole community influences individuals within the community as stressed by structural functionalism will also be put to test in assessing how individual actions regarding land acquisitions and cattle thefts have created grievances for entire communities resulting into inter-ethnic violence.
The research is guided by assumptions that;
1. Socio-political and socio-economic factors have played a role in fuelling the Kipsigis-Kisii cross-border conflict.
2. Cultural perceptions have impacted on the conflict in Borabu-Sotik inter-ethnic conflict.
3. Indigenous inter-ethnic conflict resolution mechanisms can be applied in resolving the conflict.
1.10 Research methodology
The study will employ a qualitative research design which is descriptive in nature. This is because this approach could yield more information from the phenomenon under study. The study will make use of questionnaires, interviews, government documents and archival data to obtain primary data while the secondary data are to be obtained from books, journals articles, theses, newspapers and the internet sources. The study will be conducted in Chebilat, Kipsimboi, Riontonyi, Ekerubo, Koiyet, Ikorongo, and Ramasha areas along the Sotik-Borabu border in Bomet and Nyamira Counties. This is because these two locations share a common boundary- the Sotik –Borabu border which has been a battlefield for a long period, thus, making it the most appropriate location for the study. This study targets the County administrators, NGOs, religious leaders, educationists and residents of the above areas.
From the target population, the study will select the respondents using the purposive and snowball sampling techniques. Purposive sampling will be used to select informative respondents already known to the researcher. Snowball technique will be used where some of the respondents identified and interviewed will be used to identify more informants to be interviewed. This chain will go on until the required sample is attained. During the field study, about 40 people will be interviewed and 12 will fill the questionnaires. The 12 comprises government officials, NGO officials and County administrators.
The study will use both secondary and primary data. Secondary data will be obtained from review of books, journal articles, internet sources, magazines, and newspapers sourced from libraries like JKML, National Archives, and Kenya National Library Services. Primary data will be collected through fieldwork and analysis of reports from government and NGO offices on the subject of study. The study will use instruments like interviews, questionnaires and focus group discussions. All these seek to obtain data on the political and social-economic factors that leads to the conflicts and possible indigenous resolution mechanisms to the conflict between the Kipsigis and the Kisii communities along the Sotik-Borabu border.
Data recording will primarily be by hand though, where consent is given by the respondents, the study will store collected data electronically using a tape recorder for further transcription. The analysis of the data will be qualitative based on the description of most critical issues in relation to the objectives of the study. Presentation of findings will subsequently take a narrative form.
1.11 Proposed Chapter outline
2. History of the Kipsigis-Kisii conflict
3. Socio-political and economic influences of the conflict
4. Impact of cultural perceptions on the inter-ethnic conflict
5. Role of indigenous inter-ethnic conflict resolution mechanism in addressing the conflict