KESSA Inaugural Conference

August 1-2, 2008, Bowling Green State University, Ohio.




 Inaugural Conference




August 1-2, 2008



Bowling Green State University, Bowen Thompson Student Union

Rooms 201 & 207


(Program in pdf format)

Thursday July 31, 2008 – Arrival of participants

Day 1 – Friday, August 1, 2008

·                     8 - 845AM – Conference Registration (UNION – 201)

·                     8:45 – 9:10AM – Welcome Session (UNION – 201)

·                     9:10-10:30 AM  – Paper Session 1- Historical and Political Evolution (UNION – 201)

·                     10:30-10:40 AM– Coffee Break.

·                     10:40 -12:00PM – Paper session 2 - Governance and Political Structures (UNION – 201)

·                     12:00-2:00PM – Luncheon and Keynote Address -

Ambassador Peter Ogego; Secretary Jendayi Frazer (UNION – 207)

·                     2:00-3:00PM - Paper session 3 - Resource Allocation: Opportunities and Challenges (UNION – 201)

·                     3:10-4:30PM – Paper session 4 - Confronting 21st Century Development: Social & Cultural Issues

(UNION – 201)

·                     4:30-5:00PM – Business Meeting (UNION – 201)

·                     5:00-6:00PM – Dinner (On your own – SamB’s Restaurant recommended (;

163 S. Main Street, Bowling Green, OH 43402 (419-353-2277) 

·                     7:00PM-9:00PM – Social evening – SamB’s Restaurant


Day 2 – Saturday, August 2, 2008

·                     9:00-10:20AM – Panel/ Session 1 (UNION – 201)

·                     10:20-10:30AM – Coffee Break

·                     10:30-12:00 Noon – Panel/ Session 2 (UNION – 201)

·                     12:00-12:20PM – Closing Remarks – KESSA President (UNION – 201)

·                     12:20-1:00PM Lunch (On your own); Departure

·                     1-3PM – Tour of area (optional)





8:45 – 9:10



Political Evolution & Governance (STUDENT UNION – 201)

9:10 – 9:30AM

A Re-Colonizing Decolonization: Confronting Eurocentric paradigms, reclaiming the genius of Africa’s indigenous communal heritage.  Patrick Dikirr

9:30 – 9:50AM

Democratic impasse in Kenya: The politics of Constitutional Reform. 
Shadrack W. Nasong’o

9:50 – 10:10AM

The African bureaucracy and the challenges of Managerial Leadership. 
Meshack Mairura Sagini

10:10 – 10:30AM

Does the World Bank Have Any Answers for Kenya’s Leadership Challenges?: An Interrogation of the Bank’s Governance Proposal for “Mobilizing the African Diaspora for Africa’s Development” Lisa Aubrey



10:30 – 10:40AM

Coffee Break




Resource Allocation: Opportunities & Challenges (STUDENT UNION – 201)

10:40 – 11:00AM

TJRC and History: Kenya’s futures in Kenya’s pasts? Osaak A.L.A. Olumwullah

11:00 – 11:20AM

A strong Internal Market, a solution to Kenya's economic, political and social woes. Benard Manyibe

11:20 – 11:40AM

2007 Kenyan post-election violence: Opportunity for greater socio-economic heights.  Joshua Gisemba Bagaka and Noah Midamba.

11:40 – 12: 00PM

Q & A



12:00 – 2:00PM

Lunch and Key Note Addresses (STUDENT UNION – 207)

Ambassador Peter Ogego        Secretary Jendayi Frazer




Confronting 21st Century Development: Social and Cultural Issues


2:00 – 2:20PM

A geographic analysis of socioeconomic inequality in Kenya: Implications for the country’s future.  Kefa M. Otiso

2:20 – 2:40PM

Geospatial Information Technologies and Urban Planning in Kenya: Contextual issues. Francis Koti

2:40 – 3:00PM

The “Women Border Crossers” in Tanzania: Suffering under Kenya-Tanzania police.  Elinami Veraeli Swai

3:00 – 3:20PM

Profile of older people in Kenya: What have we provided to them and what have we deprived them?  Samuel M. Mwangi

3:20 – 3:30PM

Alternative energy and Green Initiatives for Sustainable Development: Defining factors for Kenya’s future. Beatrice Miringu



3:30 – 3:40PM

Coffee Break



3:40 – 5: 00




5:00 – 6:00

RECESS/DINNER (On your own) - SAMB’s (, 163 S. Main Street, Bowling Green, OH 43402 (419-353-2277)



7:00 – 10PM


163 S. Main Street, Bowling Green, OH 43402 (419-353-2277) 
















































Panel/ Session 1 (UNION – 201)


Coffee Break

10:30-12:00 Noon

Panel/ Session 2 (UNION – 201)


Closing Remarks – KESSA President (UNION – 201)


Lunch (On your own); Departure


Tour of area (optional)














Author: Patrick Dikirr, PhD.  Institute of Global Cultural Studies Binghamton University, P.O Box 6000, Binghamton, New York 13902.Tel: Work: 607-777-3513. Home: 607-222-5641.E-mail:

Could there ever be a de-colonized body of knowledge that is itself not colonized and ultimately colonizing? How, precisely, could the suffocating galaxies of Euro-Western ways of knowing, worldviews, and philosophies of teaching/learning be effectively dislodged without reproducing bodies of knowledge that are, in the end, themselves, colonized and colonizing? Could a project of this nature and scope be undertaken without also falling into the equally colonizing mindset — of  commemorating the unmistakably diminishing influence and authority of indigenous African communal heritage? And, finally, beyond the repeated calls for the need to actively return-back to the cumulative (collective) genius of Africa’s village lore, are there other alternative ways of reconstituting a more flexible, in step-with-the-times, regenerating of minds, of souls, and of structures in Africa? These, and kindred, questions will be fully addressed in this paper.



(Author: Shadrack W. Nasong’o, PhD. Department of International Studies, Rhodes College 2000 North Parkway, Memphis TN 38112 Tel. 901-843-3823;

Since the beginning of the 1990s Kenya has undergone sustained activism for democratization to engender good governance as a prerequisite for socio-economic development. Basic to the idea of good governance in is the issue of political accountability rooted in the belief that effective government depends on the legitimacy derived from broad-based participation, fairness, and accountability of the governors to the governed. Yet despite a two-decade protracted process of activism for democratization, state structures in Kenya remain more or less the same authoritarian structures inherited at independence in 1963. What factors account for this eventuality? This paper focuses on this question and argues that this eventuality is a consequence of the stalled constitutional review process. Utilizing both primary and secondary data, the paper seeks to explain this in terms of the bifurcated nature of the pro-democracy movement in Kenya between the political class and civil society; the instrumental motivations of actors in both realms; as well as the contradictory role of external actors. The main thesis of the paper is that without constitutional engineering that must be broad-based and inclusive for it to assume some semblance of autochthony, democratization in Kenya will remain in peril with its attendant crisis of political instability. This is because across the space of time and place, political stability, a prerequisite for social economic growth and development, is a function of a broad-based national consensus on constitutive fundamentals of state that constitute the social contract between state and society. Key words: democratization, constitutionalism, civil society


Author: Meshack Mairura Sagini, Professor of Political Science at Langston University.

In the light of competitive globalization policies of the declining U.S. hegemony, an ascendant and neocolonial EU and the resurgent but challenging Chinese global influence, the 2007 post-election politics in Kenya has been interpreted in the context of triangular rivalry for global governance. Evidently, the scholarly field of managerial leadership in African countries and their organizations has theoretically and empirically raised issues concerning the quality of bureaucratic leadership. In other words, judged by anecdotal perceptions and other objective international yardsticks of performance, these issues, many of which are controversial reflections of success and failure, have been analyzed to show the occurrence of evidences of gross bureaucratic malaise particularly in professional, economic and political (public) institutions. Based on the literature, neither the first generation of post independence bureaucrats, nor the current generation of the 1990s and the new millennium has been able to display elements of transparency, bureaucratic efficiency and effectiveness and professional accountability. The sources of bureaucratic corruption inefficiency and professional unaccountability, while rooted in local cultures, they historically are rooted in colonial, neo-colonial and contemporary globalism. As a case study, the underlying causes of the recent post-election crisis in Kenya may be deeply rooted in colonial and neo-colonial imperialist struggle and quest for governance and dominance in the global periphery. The implications of this type of competitive rivalry on Kenya's political system and its interpretation by the dominantly entrenched and bourgeois class of the Kenyan elite could have far reaching implications on constitutional, land and electoral reforms which the 1963 Lancaster House constitution "laughs at and has failed" to address for almost 50 years. The cumulative effects of not addressing the reforms on time and the poverty, desperation and joblessness of the new majority whose ignorance of colonialism and tribalism made them revolutionary patriots committed to save the nation by using radical, leftist and popular discontent that threatened the established elites and their global sympathizers. The old guards were discovered to be pant less. For the survival of the Republic and its institutions, we need competent, accountable and transparent bureaucrats as opposed to those whose excessive rent seeking behavior, political patronage and neo-patrimonialism has influenced them to provoke our national multicultural social fabric to experience the worst forms of mayhem, vindictiveness and system disequilibrium. Everybody should support Kofi Annan and Condoleezza Rice for the reforms and popular democratic government or else we will have no country called Kenya.


Author:Lisa Aubrey, PhD. Associate Professor, African and African American Studies &Political Science, Arizona State University,140 Wilson Hall, P.O. Box 87093,Arizona State University,Tempe, Az. 85287-0903,614 218 4820 (mobile).

In a new initiative of the World Bank launched November 2007, the African Diaspora has been identified as key in facilitating development in Africa in its various dimensions—economic, social, political, and human. Although many Diasporans and continental Africans have espoused this argument for over a century, the World Bank now finds itself on the precise of this realization, no doubt due to the vast amounts of remittances that make their way from Diasporan pockets to the continent annually.  The World Bank, hence, has proposed to garner the myriad of Diasporan resources to more effectively and more efficiently exploit them for Africa’s benefits, in the various sectors the Bank has identified as critical sectors for engagement.  One of these is governance, as the World Bank identifies the leadership challenge in Africa as a major bottleneck in Africa’s development. Kenya is a case in point. My paper will examine the position of the World Bank on governance and leadership in this new diasporan-continental initiative. I will query whether or not the World Bank’s proposal offers plausible and workable solutions for political development in Africa, and Kenya in specific.  I will also pose questions as to the perspectives of Diasporans and continental Africans on the Bank’s proposal. The “politics of trust” is central to my discussion.


Author: Osaak A.L.A. Olumwullah, Department of History, Miami University, Oxford, OH 45056.

Early this year Kenya, for a long time a place of entry and departure for international officials dealing with crises in Somalia, Rwanda, and Sudan, was on the verge of collapse. At once, the country became emblematic of what is wrong, what could go wrong, with Africa. In another world, another time, the events that informed Kenya this time around would have been seen as the usual business of Africans killing fellow Africans. This is, indeed, the first line of argument the Western Press took in its assessment of these events. Yet, as violence spiraled and gathered momentum, the search for solutions led to the ultimate question: What, in the first place, was the cause of the murderous chaos? Explanations ranging from claims that the December 27 Presidential Elections had been rigged in favor of the incumbent, to simmering “tribal” animosities in this mosaic of 40-plus nationalities, to what is now being described as “historical injustices” were proffered and thoroughly debated in streets, in pubs, and in the media. All in all, while the first explanation has come to be seen as the tipping-point of a storm that had long been in the making, the other two, “tribalism” and “historical injustices”, are about Kenya’s past—its definition, its meanings, its uses and abuses—and how this past can be known. Almost echoing the words of the Spanish-born US philosopher George Santayana who just over a century ago argued that “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it,” a Journalist with one of the local daily newspapers in the country put his finger on the problem when he perceptively pointed out that the “challenge for the Kenyan situation is that we need to ask ourselves how we want to deal with the past.” But what exactly does this mean? Why is the past so central to the present, to the future? Is it, simply put, because by learning about it we in the present avoid the mistakes and foibles of our forefathers and thus chart out a sane and secure future for our children? The immediacy with which these questions have been raised, and variously answered, in different parts of the world since the end of WWII draw our attention to how an understanding of human tragedies of the past century is crucial to humankind’s efforts at stemming similar occurrences in our own times and beyond. This, in individual countries and across the world, is about how we not only learn about the past, but also how its checkered meanings are deployed and redeployed to present and future needs. The purpose of this paper, broadly defined, is to examine Kenya’s past in the light of the proposed Truth, Justice, and Reconciliation Commission. Among the questions the paper seeks to answer are: What place does the country’s past have in the understanding of the agonizing and inescapable trauma occasioned by the recent post-election violence? What are the connections between history, political transition and human rights? If history is not to be repeated, what is it in history that could have been different? These questions are about conflict between agency and structure, and they speak directly to the issue of responsibility for violence in the past. Thus, the paper is concerned with how, first, the proposed TJRC is going to confront the past—is it a forum for Kenyans to come to terms with, or work through, the past? Second, what does the TJRC entail for history, its civics, and for movements for participatory democracy in the country?


Author: Benard Manyibe, PhD, Bowling Green State University, Department of Leadership Studies.

As Kenya matures as a nation, it is struggling politically, economically, and socially. It is recommendable that to meet these challenges it has plan for the way forward popularly known as Vision 2030 that aims at industrializing the country by the year 2030. However, to achieve this status means a lot of work has to be done. In this paper I argue that for Kenya to achieve the goals of Vision 2030, it has to intentionally build a market that would sustain meaningful industrialization.  Some of the alternatives available include engaging its neighbors in instituting governance that promotes and supports dynamic market forces which would feed the envisioned industries with materials and manpower as well as absorb industrial products. The other option is to rely on the more developed markets of the west.  The most important alternative though is to develop a strong internal market. This market would not only ensure a strong economy but also a cohesive and tolerant society that would entrench the country’s nationhood which the current political mood indicates is at stake.


Authors: Joshua Gisemba Bagaka (Cleveland State University) and Noah Midamba (International Education and Consulting Services).

During the last few years, Kenya has gone through some turbulent times beginning with the controversies that surrounded the MoU and the subsequent failure of the constitutional making.  Though these difficulties climaxed immediately after the 2007 general election, the situation had been growing gradually from bad to worse over the years. The proposed study will offer a trend analysis of the socio-political situation beginning with the conclusion of 1997 general election until the 2007 post-election violence.  Using empirical data, the study will demonstrate the gradual decline of the socio-political situation in the country, particularly among the ruling class.  The primary data set to be used in the study will provide information on the number of parliamentary aspirants during the last three general elections (1997, 2002, and 2007) and the poverty rates in each of the 210 constituencies.  Additional information including the geographic distribution of high level government positions, evidence of corruption in high level positions, as well as evidence of increased urban and rural insecurity in the country will be used. The study will discuss related issues including the failure of constitutional making, cosmetic reforms following the 2002 general election, extravagant enumeration and improved terms of service for the members of parliament which led to a dramatic increase in completion for political office in 2007, and the usage of majimbo as a presidential campaign issue in 2007. Attention will also be paid to the impact of growing poverty levels among the masses and the role this phenomenon has played in the state of security and in undermining the process of democratization.  The study will offer suggestion for the way forward if meaningful reforms, development, and stability were to be realized.


Author: Sylvanus Amkaya-Nacheri,  Ph.D. Blacksburg VA.

When Kenya gained her independence from British colonial rule on December 12, 1963, she adopted a constitution that decreed the creation of a sovereign Kenyan state and, therefore, a state that could compete for economic, technological and military superiority. A sovereign Kenyan state, the constitution further decreed, was to be created by building an individualistic, and therefore, an integrated progress-oriented Kenyan nation that was an aggregate of individuals who, in heart and mind, were loyal, first and foremost, to the state. These constitutional decrees were suggested by provisions in her independence constitution for individual liberties and freedoms that could only be exercised if the organization of the Kenyan national polity was based on respect for the individual. For example, the constitution provided for periodic presidential, parliamentary and local government elections through universal suffrage and guaranteed the freedom of speech, the freedom of the press and the freedom of worship. Constitutionally, therefore, Kenya’s independence granted Kenya the opportunity to become a sovereign state rather than the actual sovereign status. To actually become a sovereign state, the constitution proposed that Kenya was to begin a process of building an individualistic and, therefore, an integrated progress oriented Kenyan nation by creating future adult individuals who, in heart and mind, were loyal, first and foremost, to the state. Based on historical and empirical studies of the rise and development of mass schooling in Western Europe in the 19th Century and around the world in the 20th Century, this paper proposes that it is only through the expansion of secular state-financed schooling to the masses that Kenya could become a nation and a sovereign state.


Author: Kefa M. Otiso, PhD.  Bowling Green State. University, Department of Geography, Bowling Green, OH 43403.

Kenya exhibits significant regional socioeconomic inequalities despite the country’s commitment to regional equity since independence. In this paper, I explore the spatial distribution of socioeconomic wellbeing in the country, causes of such inequality, and the implications of these geographic inequalities for the country’s future.


Author: Francis Koti, University of North Alabama.

There is notable progress in the application of geospatial information technologies (GITs) for urban practices in Kenya. While GIT applications in cities are becoming a reality, so too is the absence of the technical expertise and infrastructure necessary to support their use in smaller towns. Consequently, the creation of urban geospatial databases has tended to reside in the central government, large municipalities, and other funded projects. In these practices, the locus of attention has been the observable and quantifiable phenomena while the experiential component by the local communities has remained peripheral to these digital spatial databases.  This paper employs a participatory GIS conceptual framework to examine the sustainable use of GITs in smaller towns in Kenya. The study involves building a GIS for Athi River town, a peri-urban community of Nairobi, Kenya. The Athi River GIS includes data on land cover, land use, hydrology, and topography, social and physical infrastructure. To augment the conventional GIS, community local knowledge is integrated as an information layer in the form of group mental mapping, focus group discussions, GPS-based transect walks, social histories of exclusion, oral narratives of land use, and relevant archival material. The study reveals that: 1) while GITs present a valuable platform for the analysis of urban quality of life, they have certain limitations in smaller towns and; 2) a participatory GIS offers an alternative methodology whereby community local knowledge is integrated into a GIS as an information layer. The methodology is innovative, culturally sensitive, relatively inexpensive and locally sustainable.


Author: Elinami Veraeli Swai, PhD. Assistant Professor of Women’s and Gender Studies University of Toledo University Hall 4220A, Phone: (419) 530-2635.

This paper explores the diverse ways that Tanzanian women traders negotiate their business in the most harsh condition in the hands of Kenya and Tanzania border police, based on ethnographic research with three women traders in Kilimanjaro and Arusha in Tanzania. Drawing on the concept of a ‘boarder crossing’, I show how the effects of economic globalization and gender inequalities intersect with callous treatment and groundless illegalization of women’s trade activities on two borders - Taveta in Kilimanjaro and Namanga in Arusha Tanzania. Using the notion of ‘performativity’, I analyze how women actively reconfigure their lives in the current neoliberal economy regardless of inhuman treatment from Kenya and Tanzanian police forces.


Author(s): Samuel M. Mwangi, Miami University, Department of Sociology & Gerontology, Oxford, OH 45056.

Societal aging is fairly a recent phenomenon across the world.  While historically select individuals have made it to old age, it is only in the last 40-50 years that we have seen aging nations. Kenya is entering the demographic transition as the population of older Kenyans continues to increase. In 1989, there were about just over one million Kenyans age 60 and above. This population had increased to 1.3 million in 1999 and in 2007 there were about 1.5 million older Kenyans who constituted about 4 percent of the total population. By 2020, this population is projected to be slightly over 2 million and it will be followed by a drastic increase to 8.2 million by 2050. Today in Kenya 42 percent of the population is below the age of 14. Like other nations, Kenya will face a number of challenges as it ages. Such changes underscore the importance for preparing for an aging society. This paper will examine the general outlook of older Kenyans in regard to their economic, social and health statuses. It will be argued that the bulk of ageing issues that affect and afflict older Kenyans for the most part have been overlooked. Although available evidence shows that the government and civil society have come to the realization that mechanisms for addressing older people’s predicaments need to be put in place, this realization is undermined by the marginalization of these people that has created a subculture of poor older adults. Keywords: aging, older Kenyans, aging populations.


Author: Beatrice Miringu, Program Coordinator, Coalition for Sustainable Africa (CSAfrica).The ability to generate and utilize alternative energy in rural areas is key to sustainable development in Kenya. This presentation will explore the potential of bio-fuel as an avenue for rural economic development in Kenya and as one way for the country to meet its Millenium Development Goals. Experience from other countries in Africa and elsewhere shows that food and biofuel production can be successfully integrated.  One of my goals is to see how this can be done in Kenya.


About the Kenya Scholars & Studies Association (KESSA)



Kenya Scholars and Studies Association (KESSA) is an independent Ohio-based nonprofit (503(c)3) professional association that exclusively seeks to advance scholarly, scientific, and research work on the Republic of Kenya.  Its membership is drawn from all disciplines and persuasions.



-          To promote scholarly, scientific and research work in or about Kenya in all scholarly disciplines and persuasions. 

-          To promote and facilitate cooperation through the exchange of ideas and meaningful dialogue among groups and/or persons engaged in scholarly, scientific, and research on Kenya. 

-          To encourage and facilitate the dissemination of information, publications, and other scholarly works on Kenya. 

-          To organize workshop panels, discussions, symposia, and conferences on Kenya.

-          To raise funds in support of the above activities.


Contact information


Kenya Scholars & Studies Association

BGSU, Dept. of Geography

Bowling Green, OH 43403





Online Membership Form:

(Please fill and send to above email/physical address)


Current KESSA Officials:


Kefa M. Otiso, PhD

Bowling Green State University


Maurice N. Amutabi, PhD

Central Washington University


Francis T. Koti, PhD

University of North Alabama


Gichana C. Manyara, PhD

Radford University


Conference Sponsors & Supporters


The Kenya Scholars & Studies Association wishes to thank the following for their generous support of this inaugural conference:

1.         Office of the President, Bowling Green State University

2.         Office of the Provost, Bowling Green State University

3.         The Graduate College, Bowling Green State University

4.         College of Arts and Sciences, Bowling Green State University

5.         School of Earth, Environment and Society (SEES), Bowling Green State University

6.         Department of Geography, Bowling Green State University

7.         International Studies Program, Bowling Green State University

8.         Center for International Programs, Bowling Green State University

9.         Africana Studies Program, Bowling Green State University

10.       The Kenya Embassy, Washington, DC

11.       The Kenya Development Network Consortium, Marshall, MO

12.       The Kenya Community Abroad


We also thank the US Department of State for allowing Dr. Jendayi Frazer to attend this conference.


All opinions expressed at the conference are strictly of the individual speakers.