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Babere Kerata Chacha

LAHRI / LUCAS Virtual Fellow 2023
Areas of expertise
political assassinations, human rights, tobacco and ecology, religion, and sexuality.
Arts, Humanities and Cultures
Leeds Arts and Humanities Research Institute / Leeds Centre For African Studies

Babere Kerata Chacha is a Senior Lecturer in African History in the Department of Public Affairs and Environmental Studies and the founder of the Centre for Human Rights at Laikipia University.

Chacha has been a fellow School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, Junior fellow St. Antony’s College University of Oxford;  Fellow,  Wolfson College Cambridge and more recently,  Global fellow, University of New South Wales, Australia.   In 2022, Chacha was awarded an inaugural Sarah Bartmann Chair for his distinguished career in teaching African Women in History by the University of Cape Town, South Africa.

In the past he has been engaged in designing Military science and Police studies programes for the Kenya police and Defence Forces.     His main research interest includes in political assassinations and human rights, tobacco and ecology, religion, and sexuality. Chacha was instrumental in the launch of the UN supported human rights programme as a common core course at Laikipia University.

Killing Trees to Cure Tobacco: Land Use and Environmental Change in Kuria District Kenya, 1945-2002

Kuria eco-region is one of the areas with high levels of endemicity and is habitat to several flora and fauna species, spanning over east African countries. This eco-region has been threatened by tobacco production (initially contracted by British-American Tobacco [BAT]).   Growing concerns have been expressed not only about the health hazards involved in tobacco farming but also about the environmental unsustainability of the crop in terms of excessive use of wood. On the other hand, the crop poses a particularly difficult dilemma for development since its production has generated a wide range of employment, income, foreign exchange earnings and other cash contributing effects, while the damage to the forests and food security in general seems to outweigh the benefits. These complexities challenge researchers and policy makers to address the dynamics of agricultural intensification and local scale land-use systems and their long terms ecological implications.  This study therefore, is a historical examination of a tobacco growing peasantry in Kuria District of Kenya. It is an attempt to understanding the history of men and women for whom tobacco became an important part of their existence as small-scale agricultural contract producers for the tobacco companies.  The emphasis is placed on the impact of tobacco production on ecology and forests resources.   Ultimately such an approach is best able to reveal the reasons for the poor agricultural performance of many African societies in post-colonial era.