Navigating Contested Winds: Development Visions and Anti-Politics of Wind Energy in Northern Kenya | Land Portal

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Date of publication: 
January 2019
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© 2019 by the authors; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article.

State-led development visions and the accompanying large-scale investments at the geographical margins of Kenya rest on the potential of public–private partnerships to fast-tract sustainable development through accelerated investments. Yet, the conceptualisation, planning and implementation of these visions often deploy a depoliticising development discourse that reinforces and expands long-standing misconceptions about the margins primarily directed at pastoral livelihoods and related communal land tenure. This paper illustrates how the implementation of a wind energy project employs the corporate strategies of depoliticising both land claims and development interventions. In Northern Kenya, private sector participation in large-scale wind energy infrastructure has created a complex development apparatus in which players are empowered to undertake the accelerated investments required to shape the delivery of the Kenya Vision 2030 in the region. An analysis of corporate actors’ strategies in the implementation of the contested wind farm presents a depoliticised framing of “low-cost green energy”, representations of pastoral land tenure and corporate social responsibility strategies through which dispossession is justified and legitimised. This case underscores the extent to which corporate counterresistance is shaped by the reproduction of a historical depoliticised discourse about pastoralism and communal tenure and challenges the traditional narrative of government hegemony against local resistance to large-scale land acquisitions (LSLAs).

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Author(s), editor(s), contributor(s): 

Achiba, A. Gargule


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