"Population Growth, Environmental Degradation, and State-Sponsored Violence: The Case of Kenya, 1991-93"
Journal Article, International Security, volume 23, issue 2, pages 80-119
Author: Colin H. Kahl
Colin Kahl of Columbia University examines the influence of demographic and environmental stress on the outbreak of civil strife in developing countries. Kahl contends that under certain conditions state elites will seek to exploit the destabilizing effects of natural resource scarcity and social grievances to instigate ethnic conflict when their political base seems threatened. Kahl tests his “state exploitation hypothesis” using the case of Kenya, where from 1991 to 1993 widespread ethnic violence erupted between ethnic groups allied with President Daniel arap Moi and those traditionally associated with his opponents. According to Kahl, these clashes can be traced directly to the regime’s determination to exploit environmentally and demographically induced scarcity to ensure its political survival.
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