Cultural Beliefs as a Source of Ethnic Conflicts: A Study of the Turkana and Pokot Pastoralists of Kenya
Philip Kiprotich Chebunet, Joseph Adome Lopeyok, Joyce Cherono Laboso Abonyo
Journal of Global Peace and Conflict, 1(1), pp. 01-13.

Kenya is witnessing an upsurge of ethnic conflicts involving pastoralist communities. Pastoralist communities are most vulnerable to violent conflict resulting in loss of life and property, ethnic polarization, economic instability, displacement and increased poverty levels.This study which focused on ethnic conflicts between the Turkana and Pokot pastoral communities of Turkana south and Pokot Central districts examined the cultural beliefs as source of ethnic conflicts. Most significantly the study explored the various cultural beliefs and how they bring about ethnic conflicts; examined different forms of ethnic conflicts and its impact on the social and economic development indicators of the two pastoralist communities. The study also sought to identify probable conflict transformation mechanisms to enhance peaceful co-existence among these pastoralist communities. The study was based on conflict transformation theory which is founded on the work of Galtung (1996). The study was conducted in Kainuk area of Turkana South district and Sigor/Orwa area of Pokot Central district. The study population was 5178 residents of Kainuk and 3860 residents of Orwa area. Male and female adults of 18 years and above were targeted. Simple random sampling technique was used to select a sample of 103 respondents from Orwa and 104 responents from Kainuk. However, purposive sampling procedure was used to select elders, diviners, warriors, Government officials, NGO and faith based leaders, youth and other key respondents for the study. Questionnaires, interview and Observation schedules and documentary analysis were used to collect pertinent data which was analyzed using both descriptive and inferential statistics. The findings of this study are expected to benefit the Turkana and Pokot pastoralists in identifying the root causes that have kept them in persistent conflicts and perennial poverty. Further, the findings are also expected to be useful to policy makers both at the national and district/county levels. It is expected that medium term and long term policy measures identified herein will provide mechanisms for effective conflict management and resolution, enhancement of peaceful culture and promotion of sustainable community governance. It is also expected to add knowledge to the discipline of conflicts resolution.

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Chebunet, Kiprotich Philip., Lopeyok, Adome Joseph., & Abonyo, Cherono Laboso Joyce. (2013). Cultural Beliefs as a Source of Ethnic Conflicts: A Study of the Turkana and Pokot Pastoralists of Kenya . Journal of Global Peace and Conflict, 1(1), pp. 01-13.

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Philip Kiprotich Chebunet
Department of Communication and Journalism
Maasai Mara University





Joseph Adome Lopeyok
P.O. Box 251-3050
Lodwar, Kenya.


Joyce Cherono Laboso Abonyo, PhD
Department of Languages and Linguistics
Egerton University