Cteniogaster, a new genus of small ground spiders is described from Kenya and Tanzania. It encompasses seven new species, three of which are known from both sexes: C. toxarchus sp. nov., the type species, C. conviva sp. nov. and C. hexomma sp. nov. Three species are known from females only: C. lampropus sp. nov., C. sangarawe sp. nov. and C. taxorchis sp. nov. and one only from males: C. nana sp. nov. The new genus can be recognised by the presence of a posterior ventral abdominal field of strong setae and anterior lateral spinnerets with enlarged piriform gland spigots in males. A cladistic analysis attributes the genus to Liocranidae, Cybaeodinae. The results of the analysis performed do not produce an unequivocal autapomorphy for Liocranidae, but provide a combination of non-homoplasious character changes that offers significant potential for recognising genera as Liocranidae. Moreover, robust apomorphies are determined within Liocranidae for the subfamilies Liocraninae and Cybaeodinae. Based on these findings Toxoniella Warui & Jocqué, 2002 is transferred from Gallieniellidae to Liocranidae, Cybaeodinae. Jacaena Thorell, 1897, Plynnon Deeleman-Reinhold, 2001 and Teutamus Thorell, 1890 are transferred to Corinnidae, Phrurolithinae and Montebello Hogg, 1914 to Gnaphosidae. Itatsina Kishida, 1930 is synonymised with Prochora Simon, 1886.