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5 Strathmore L.J. 189 (2021)
A Representative of the People: A Review of Dominic Burbidge's an Experiment in Devolution: National Unity and the Deconstruction of the Kenyan State

handle is hein.journals/strathlj5 and id is 189 raw text is: Book Reviews

A representative of the people
A review of Dominic Burbidge's An experiment in
devolution: National unity and the deconstruction of
the Kenyan state
Lizzy Muthoni Kibira*
It is a scene so ordinary, so normal, you know. That at a funeral, a political
representative - the chief or some other low-level bureaucrat should attend and;
sooner or later, as an interlude to an otherwise sombre speech, they will launch
into an impassioned digest of what their bosses have been doing or some other
drivel. Every once in a while though, if the 'event' is large enough - maybe
concerning a hayati or marehemu rather than a mwendazake - then, it attracts quite
the shindy. A gaggle of political geese unabashedly having words and setting the
political tropology for the next few months; while we - over the noise of the pub,
or of the children - raise our fists at the TV at the indignity of it all. If nothing
else, at least the bereaved are spared in their preoccupation with grief. This, is us.
It has happened to me, maybe to you too, but we have all certainly been witness
to it.
This scene, rather an exemplar of it, concludes what has since become
my favourite chapter of Dominic Burbidge's An experment in devolution, chapter
six. Published by Strathmore University Press in 2019, the 319-page volume is a
welcome addition to the growing scholarship on devolution in Kenya.1 This text,
indeed, brings with it a much needed 'empirical grit' to a discourse previously
saturated with historically and theoretically derived conjecture. The hallmark
of the book is, therefore, this attention to the material, the meticulousness
Dominic Burbidge, An experiment in devolution: National unity and the deconstruction of the Kenyan state,
Strathmore University Press, Nairobi, 2019.
* The author is an LLB student at Strathmore Law School.



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