Reconciliation and Conceptual Complexity: The Case of Post Conflict Kenya

African and Asian Studies

Abstract

This paper examines the level of conceptual complexity illustrated by members of the Kenyan parliament following the end of civil conflict that had been precipitated by the contested December 2007 presidential and parliamentary elections. Who is more likely to engage in rhetoric that is more complex (and hence more reconciliatory) the opposition or the governing party?: Ministers or other MPs? Using machine coded text analysis of parliamentary debates over the proposed reconciliation government in March 2008, we find that complexity scores were lower among representatives of the parties that were the principal protagonists in the civil conflict and lower among ministers of government than were representatives from other parties or non ministerial members of parliament.

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