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Ngala Chome

Religion, Nation, and Tribe: the multiple visions of political community in Mombasa, 1950-2005)

PhD Candidate (PhD Title: Religion, Nation, and Tribe: the multiple visions of political community in Mombasa, 1950-2005)

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Religion, Nation, and Tribe: the multiple visions of political community in Mombasa, 1950-2005) in the Department of History  


Ngala's doctoral research examines the ideological resources for imagining political community in post-colonial Mombasa. In particular, the research asks, to what extent has religion, race, ethnicity, and the idea of a 'modern nation' shaped popular understandings of a legitimate political community in post-colonial Mombasa? The examinaton of these multiple political imaginaries, and how they have driven the recent political history of a coastal town on the Eastern African seaboard, illustrates the dynamism and the extent to which African communities have gone beyond 'tribe', so as to debate and negotiate citizenship within the post-colonial state.

Based on a combination of archival research, a review of newspaper records, and field interviews conducted in Mombasa in 2018, Ngala's research dovetails with recent work, particualrly Indian Ocean Studies, that goes beyond 'tribe' to understand alternative ideologies of identity, rights, belonging and citizenhsip that have - alongside ethnic imaginations - been at work on the African continent.

Ngala joined the History department in October 2016, on a Durham Doctoral Studentship award. In 2013-14, he was the Commonwealth Shared Scholar at the Center of African Studies, University of Edinburgh, United Kingdom, where he graduated with a distinction. In 2015-16, Ngala served as Lead Researcher at Sahan Research, a think-tank based in Nairobi, Kenya, where he lead multiple 'Countering Violent Extremism' research projects, focussing on Nairobi, Mombasa and North-eastern Kenya.

Broadly, Ngala's work examines the modern political history of the Kenyan coast, and has been published in peer-reviewed journals, academic volumes, and in policy reports. It covers diverse themes ranging from the politics of elections, development, devolution, and religion. 

Research interests

  • political legitimacy, political community, politics of religion, the state in Africa

Media Contacts

Available for media contact about:

  • Africa: Kenyan politics


Book review

  • Chome, N (2016). The Franco-Mauritian Elite. Journal of Southern African Studies

Chapter in book

  • Chome, N (2019). The political role of Islam. In The Oxford University Press Handbook on Kenyan politics. Lynch, G, Karuti, K & Cheeseman, N Oxford University Press.
  • Chome, N (2019). Global or local? Exploring the emergence and operation of a violent Islamist network in Kenya. In Exporting Jihad: Critical perspectives from the periphery. Smith, T & Schulze, K I.B Tauris.
  • Chome, N (2014). The Grassroots are very complicated: Marginalization and the Emergence of Alternative Authority in the Kenyan coast 2013 Elections. In ‘Kenya’s past as prologue: Voters, Violence and the 2013 General-Elections’. Thibon, C, Fouere, M.A, Ndeda, M & Mwangi, S Heinrich Boll Foundation.

Journal Article


  • Chome, N (2016). Violent extremism and clan dynamics in Kenya. United States Institute of Peace.