SprachwissenschaftlerInnen reflektieren über ihre Arbeit- Festschrift für Rudolf de Cillia
Edited By Verena Krausneker and Marie-Luise Volgger
The indigenous and “foreigners” discourse in Kenya’s ethnic conflict
In this paper, we discuss the discourse on indigenous people versus “foreigners” in Kenya. This paper is related to my Ph.D. dissertation that dealt with language policy and discourse analysis of parliamentary debates in the parliament of Kenya. Professor Rudolf de Cillia was one of my Ph.D. supervisors. Although the discourse of the indigenous and “foreigners” is evident in many parts of Kenya, we focus on Njoro-Molo area of the Rift Valley that has been the epicentre of ethnic conflict that is grounded in competition for political power as a premium variable. From the outset, we observe that this is a complex issue that has its roots in colonial history when some of the so called “foreigners” were brought to the Njoro-Molo area by the colonial government. In the beginning land was an important grievance in the conflict of the indigenous versus “foreigners”. In the subsequent years, especially after the re-introduction of the multi-party politics (that is clearly related to multi-tribalism) in 1991, the question of the indigenous versus “foreigners” is more pronounced in the prism of struggle for ultimate political power positions, such as the prized outcomes of the elections. In this connection, the indigenous and “foreigners” conflict and the attendant discourse is linked to ethnolinguistic vitality of the ethnic groups in question. Further, inherent in the indigenous versus “foreigners” discourse are a number of stereotypes and argumentation strategies. It is anticipated that this paper will be relevant to the understanding of ethnic conflict and ethnic discourse...
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