Departmental Bulletin Paper Homicide Compensation in an Îgembe Community in Kenya, 2001–2015: Fifteen Years of Clan Making in a Local Context

ISHIDA, Shin-ichiro

38 ( 4 )  , pp.173 - 220 , 2017-12 , The Center for African Area Studies, Kyoto University
This paper describes three cases of homicide compensation in a local farming community of the Îgembe, one of nine sub-groups of the Kîmîîrû-speaking people in the Kenyan central highlands. These cases were observed from 2001 to 2015. According to Îgembe indigenous law, the clan is the primary entity for transacting matters related to homicide compensation. In these cases, the agnatic Athimba clan was involved as a party in various ways. The Athimba people organised a compensation process during inter-clan negotiations with their counterpart clan, and in cooperation with the other two indigenous institutions of the Amîîrû community: the îchiaro brotherhood and the Njûriîncheke council of elders. While all three cases were discontinued without reaching a conclusion, the Athimba clan has accumulated knowledge of Îgembe indigenous law from its experiences with homicide compensation; at the same time, the Athimba have developed a sense of clanship over the past fifteen years. Their fifteen years of experiences were informed by a widely shared structural history, and the regional politics of the Îgembe community. While their situations required that they take action as a clan, their unity was not something already given, but something that had yet to be achieved and was often disputed.

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