Community-Led Security Mechanisms: The case of Mlango Kubwa and Kawangware in Nairobi
The state assertion of monopoly over the provision of security and use of force remains a contested reality in Kenya. Challenges of inadequate finances, personnel and equipment limit the state’s capacity to secure the entire territory. The political economy allows for hierarchy in the provision of security and results in marginalisation of poor neighbourhoods and their security needs. Instead, they are seen as a source of insecurity and policing exerts a repressive hand. In the resulting lacuna, community-led security mechanisms emerge to provide security in poor neighbourhoods. The experience, successes and challenges of these mechanisms hold important lessons for policy-making on urban security. This paper presents the findings of a study assessing the effectiveness of community-led security mechanisms in two poor neighbourhoods in Nairobi and argues that nodal governance of security is the de-facto reality and indicates the trajectory of security governance in Kenya.
* Research Fellow, Centre for Human Rights and Policy Studies (CHRIPS), Kenya, E-mail: email@example.com
Ayiera, E. 2015. Local Policing Accountability in Kenya: Challenges and Opportunities for Action. Nairobi: CHRIPS.
Berg, J. 2007. “The Accountability of South Africa’s Private Security Industry: Mechanisms of Control and Challenges to Effective Oversight” Newlands: Open Society Foundation of South Africa.
Boutellier, H. and Van Steden, R. 2011. in “Governing Nodal Governance: the ‘Anchoring’ of Local Security Networks” in Crawford, A. (ed.) International and Comparative Criminal Justice and Urban Governance. Convergence and Divergence in Global, National and Local Settings, Cambridge University Press.
Burris, S. Drahos, P. and Shearing, C. 2005. “Nodal Governance,” Australian Journal of Legal Philosophy. 30: 30-58.
Centre for Human Rights and Policy Studies. 2014. “Effectiveness of Community-Led Security Mechanisms in Low Income Neighbourhoods” (unpublished).
Comaroff, J. and Comaroff, J. 2006. Law and Disorder in the Postcolony, Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Darkey, D. and Kariuki, A. 2013. “A Study on Quality of Life in Mathare, Nairobi, Kenya” Journal of Human Ecology 41 (3): 207-219.
Diphoorn, T. 2016. “‘Surveillance of the Surveillers’: Regulation of the Private Security Industry in South Africa and Kenya”, African Studies Review, 59 (2): 161-182.
Gimode, E. 2001. “An anatomy of violent crime and insecurity in Kenya: The case of Nairobi, 1985–1999”, Africa Development 26 (1&2): 295–335.
Gitau, J. 2017. Strengthening Community Policing in Kenya: Options and Recommendations, Policy brief, Centre for Human Rights and Policy Studies. (Unpublished).
Hake, A. 1977. African Metropolis: Nairobi's self-help city, New York: St. Martin’s Press; London: Chatto and Windus.
Human Rights Watch. 2008. Ballots to Bullets: Organized Political Violence and Kenya’s Crisis of Governance, New York: Human Rights Watch.
Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR). 2008. The Cry of Blood: Report on extra-judicial killings and disappearances. Nairobi: Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR).
Kenya. Commission of Inquiry into the Post-Election Violence, Republic of. 2008. Report of the Commission of Inquiry into the Post-Election Violence (Waki Report).
Kenya. National Task Force on Police Reforms. 2009. Report of the National Task Force on Police Reforms. Nairobi: Government Printers.
Kiama, P. Christensen, C. Jensen, C. and Kelly, T. 2016 “Violence among the Urban Poor in Nairobi.” Nairobi: Independent Medico-Legal Unit.
Kinuthia, M 1992. “Slum Clearance and the Informal Economy in Nairobi.” The Journal of Modern African Studies, 30 (2): 221-236.
Landinfo. 2010. “Kenya: Mungiki – Abusers or Abused?” http://www.landinfo.no/asset/1123/1/1123_1.pdf (Accessed: 16 January 2017).
Masese, G. 2007. “Crime and Violence Trends in Nairobi, Kenya: A Case study prepared for Enhancing Urban Safety and Security, Global Report on Human Settlements” http://www.unhabitat.org/grhs/2007 (Accessed: 6 November 2016).
Masese, S and Muia, D. 2014. “Predictors of Food Insecurity in Mathare Valley Slum in Nairobi County, Kenya,” Developing Country Studies,4(6): 106-115.
Ministry of Water and Irrigation. Maji Data database http://www.majidata.go.ke/index.php?MID=MQ (Accessed: 6 November 2016).
Mkutu, K. and Sabala, K. 2007. “Private Security Companies in Kenya and Dilemmas for Security,” Journal of Contemporary African Studies, 25 (3): 391 — 416.
Mutahi, P. 2011. “Between Illegality and Legality: (I)nsecurity, Crime and Gangs in Nairobi Informal Settlements,” SA Crime Quarterly, 37.
Mutisya, E. and Yarime, M. 2012. “Understanding the Grassroots Dynamics of Slums in Nairobi: The Dilemma of Kibera Informal Settlements” International Transaction Journal of Engineering, Management, & Applied Sciences & Technologies http://www.academia.edu/12577654/Mathare_Zonal_Plan_Nairobi_Kenya_Collaborative_Plan_for_Informal_Settlement_Upgrading (Accessed: 8 July 2016).
National Police Service. 2016. “Crime Statistics 2015” http://www.nationalpolice.go.ke/crime-statistics.html# (Accessed: 11 May 2017).
Okombo, O. and Sana, O. 2010. Balaa Mitaani: The Challenge of Mending Ethnic Relations in the Nairobi Slums, Nairobi: Citizens Against Violence and Friedrich Ebert Stiftung.
Ruteere, M. and Pommerolle, ME. 2003. “Democratizing Security or Decentralizing Repression? The Ambiguities of Community Policing in Kenya”, African Affairs 102 (409): 587-604.
Ruteere, M. 2009. Dilemmas of Crime, Human Rights and the Politics of Mungiki Violence in Kenya. Nairobi: Kenya Human Rights Institute.
Ruteere M. 2014. “Security and Human Rights in the New Constitutional Order in Kenya”, in Murunga, G. Okello, D. and Sjogren A (eds.) Kenya: The Struggle for a New Constitutional Order. Uppsala: Zed Books Ltd.
Sana, O. and Okombo, O. 2012. Taking Stock of Socio-economic Challenges in the Nairobi Slums, Nairobi: Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung http://library.fes.de/pdf-files/bueros/kenia/09860.pdf (Accessed: 7 November 2016).
Shearing, C. and Wood, J. 2003. “Nodal Governance, Democracy and the New ‘Denizens’”, Journal of Law and Society, 3 (3): 400 - 419.
Stenning, P. and Shearing, C. 1980. "The Quiet Revolution: The Nature, Development and General Legal Implications of Private Security in Canada," Criminal Law Quarterly, 22 (20): 220-248.
Kinnes, I. 2009. “Urban Violence, Community Social Mobilisation and Crime: The Case of Proudly Manenberg,” Presented at the HSRC Violent Crime and Democratisation in the Global South Workshop 18-20 March 2009.
UN-Habitat. 2003. “The Challenge of Slums” Global Report on Human Settlements London: UN-Habitat http://unhabitat.org/books/the-challenge-of-slums-global-report-on-human-settlements-2003/
(Accessed: 5 November 2016).
UNDP, 2007. The State of Squalor Settlements: Implications to Planning in Urban Centres. New York: Oxford Publishers.
UN-Habitat. 2006. State of the World’s Cities 2006/7 London: UN Habitat.
Wa Teresia, N. 2011. “Crime, Causes and Victimisation in Nairobi City Slums” International Journal of Current Research, 3: 12, 275-285http://www.journalcra.com/sites/default/files/Download%201355.pdf Accessed: 5 November 2016).
Mitullah, W. 2003. Urban Slums Reports: The Case of Nairobi, Kenya. Nairobi:UN Habitat.
World Bank, 2011. Violence in the City: Understanding and Supporting Community Responses to Urban Violence, Washington, DC: The World Bank http://documents.worldbank.org/curated/en/524341468331181450/Violence-in-the-city-understanding-and-supporting-community-
responses-to-urban-violence (Accessed: 6 November 2016).
World Health Organization. 2008. “Preventing Violence and Reducing Its Impact: How Development Organizations Can Help” Geneva: WHO Press http://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/10665/43876/1/9789241596589_eng.pdf (Accessed: 6 November 2016).
Yar, M. 2011. “From the ‘Governance of Security’ to ‘Governance Failure’:Refining the Criminological Agenda” Internet Journal of Criminology http://www.internetjournalofcriminology.com/Yar_From_the_Governance_of_Security_to_Governance_Failure_April_2011.pdf (Accessed:
Copyright © by Department of Political Science and Public Administration, University of Dar es Salaam
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or any information storage or retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher, except for short extracts in fair dealing, for research or private study, critical scholarly review or discourse with an acknowledgement.
The African Review: A Journal of African Politics, Development and International Affairs [ISSN 0856-0056 (Print) & ISSN 1821-889X (Online)] is published bi-annually, June and December by the Department of Political Science and Public Administration, University of Dar es Salaam, P.O. Box 35042 – Dar es Salaam – Tanzania