Asian-Led Civil Societies Domiciled in Nairobi City and the Struggle for political and Constitutional Reforms in Post-independent Kenya

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International Journal of Research and Innovation in Social Science (IJRISS) | Volume V, Issue XII, December 2021 | ISSN 2454–6186

Asian-Led Civil Societies Domiciled in Nairobi City and the Struggle for political and Constitutional Reforms in Post-independent Kenya

Dr. Charles Kinanga Moywaywa1, Mr. Edwin Omari Nyagaka2
1Lecturer at the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies, South Eastern Kenya University, Kenya
2M.A Graduate in Political Science, Kenyatta University, Kenya

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Abstract: This paper examines the contributions of Asian led-civil societies domiciled in Nairobi city in the struggle for political and constitutional reforms in Kenya in the post-independence period. This paper is anchored on a liberal democratic theoretical perspective. Liberal democracy as advanced by John Locke, argues that the natural law guarantees every individual right to life, liberty and protection of private property. Thus this paper uses this approach to demonstrate that Asians used civil societies in Nairobi city to champion for the protection of their natural rights and that of the other Kenyans. The key objectives of the paper are to: conceptualize and trace the historiography of civil societies in the context of Kenya, secondly, to interrogate the contributions of the Asian-led civil societies domiciled in Nairobi city in the agitation for political and constitutional reforms in post-independent Kenya and finally, to examine the role of Nairobi Asian luminaries in agitation for electoral reforms between 1997 and 2017. This paper adopts a descriptive survey design and utilizes both primary and secondary data. Similarly, the paper utilizes both stratified and purposive sampling techniques to identify research informants. This paper reveals that the Asian luminaries used civil societies to champion for political reforms and constitutional review process in Kenya, especially in the 1990s. Further, these Asian-led civil societies acted as the vehicles for litigation of public interest cases with the major aim of promoting the rule of law, democracy and good governance.

Key Words: Civil Society, Mlolongo and Political and Constitutional Reforms

I. INTRODUCTION

There is no doubt that civil societies have earned a high place in the transitional politics in Africa. For a long time, scholars have been of the view that civil societies are the missing link to good governance, transition to democracy, sustained political reforms and legitimization of states in Africa (Nzomo, 2003: 183 and Nasong’o, 2014: 19). Against this backdrop, civil societies are thus seen as the necessary ‘evil’ for effecting not only political reforms but also constitutional reforms in Africa through activism. Where as much as been documented on the role of civil societies in democratization process in Kenya, Asian led-civil societies domiciled in Nairobi city seem to have been either sidelined or ignored all together.