Following God's constitution: the gender dimension in the Ogiek claim to Mau forest complex Academic Article uri icon


  • Land and resources linked to it form a critical part of many communities’ life lines. Lack of access to these resources can lead to the decimation of the affected communities. This is especially the case where the communities’ life is linked to a particular ecosystem as the case for the Ogiek. In a situation where the rights of the entire community are under threat, the weaker actors ordinarily hold the shorter end of the stick in so far as access to, control over and ownership of resources is concerned. It is against this background that this chapter looks at the struggle of the Ogiek for access to the Mau forest in the face of competing actors. The metaphor ‘Following God’s Constitution’ is adopted as a frame of reference to interrogate the Ogiek community perception of their relationship with the state, the forest and its resources. In a patriarchal setting, an understanding of God’s constitution must be read in the context of male domination and socio-cultural and legal relations in which men as a class have power over women as a gender. Those power relations are social constructs and neither biological nor natural. This power can be ideological, social, political and economic. The cultural aspect of patriarchy in most cases takes the form of the devaluation of women’s work or achievements while the ideological aspect portrays women as natural, biological creatures inherently different but inferior vis a vis men

publication date

  • 2006


  • Gender
  • God
  • Mau forest
  • Ogiek