Insecurity in Kenya Essay

1uncertainty or anxiety about oneself; lack of confidence:she had a deep sense of insecurity [count noun]:he’s plagued with insecurities 2the state of being open to danger or threat; lack of protection:growing job insecurity the insecurity of wireless networks Kenyan Politics: An Introduction

Postcolonial Kenya has seen a significant amount of development, both politically and economically, since its independence in 1963. Starting with the presidency of Jomo Kenyatta, the nation prospered — experiencing economic growth of at least 5% for over a decade (Barkan, 2004). The civil service was highly regarded, well paid, and the prospect of corruption was hardly visible. Unfortunately, the presidential succession by Daniel Arap Moi did not account for the same positive conditions. After Moi took power in 1978, many governmental entities languished, due to his repressive regime. By the 1990’s, the civil service declined, the judicial system lost much of its power, and the economy sank, with poverty rates rising 8% (Barkan, 2004). When Mwai Kibaki began his presidency in 2002, Kenya was at one of its worst places in history, putting Kibaki in a position to either make significant changes or keep Kenya in its destructive state. Unfortunately, along with political and economic instability comes an increase in crime and disorder. East Africa, as a whole, is a region of high crime rates due to a number of factors, several of which have no feasible short-term solutions. As of present day, Kenya is rated by the U.S. Department of State as Critical in terms of both terrorism and crime, making the United States Embassy in Nairobi the fourth largest in the world. The porous borders between countries as well as the extensive coastline make it difficult to accurately track and pursue criminal activity. The median age in East Africa is between16 and 19 years old, which is directly in the center of the average criminal demographic worldwide.

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This means that there is little likelihood for a decline in crime rates anytime in the near future (UNODC, 2009). In addition to the above factors that offer little hope for crime experts worldwide, there has been a significant decrease in active policing and law enforcement in Kenya, while criminal behavior is steadily increasing. Recent United Nations surveys in Kenya have shown that over half of the population worries about crime constantly and roughly 75% feel unsafe while at home (UN – Habitat, 2002). The lack of training and low pay for the Kenyan police causes a considerable level of corruption and a general lack of aggressive policing, with 98% of Kenyans believing there is some level of corruption in the force (UN – Habitat, 2002). This research article discusses the elements of crime and policing in Kenya along with their relationship to globalization, development, and sustainability.

Law and Order in Kenya
The criminal justice system in Kenya is still a work in progress. Initially created during Colonial rule, the system merged British Colonial law with the ideals thought to be important to native Kenyans at the time. After the Mau-Mau uprising against the British in the 1950s, many Kenyans were determined to create a crime policy that coexisted with their tribal lifestyle. With 78 percent of Kenyans living in rural areas as of the year 2009 (Ministry of Land, 2009), it is unfeasible to expect a formal police and justice system throughout the entire country. Within many provinces, there are districts led by Chiefs and District Officers. These elected officials act as government representatives and handle many of the criminal matters without any formal involvement from larger governmental entities. The Kenyan law enforcement network is split into several sectors all comprising the police force. Since the last major reorganization in 1953, the Kenyan Police Force, under the direction of the Police Commissioner, is comprised of the Regular Police, General Service Unit, Criminal Investigative Department, National Security Intelligence Service and the Administrative Police. Each with specific goals and functions, the Swahili phrase Utamishi Kwa Wote (service to all) acts as the guiding motto for officers nationwide (Maina et al, 2004). The Regular Police conduct day-to-day street operations and act as the visible face for all Kenyans to see.

The General Service Unit (the main firearm carrying division of the police) takes part in major uprisings and events and is, according to a prominent Kenyan figure in the Kibera Slum, “feared by nearly everyone” (Anonymous, personal statement, 2010). The Criminal Investigative Department (CID) performs many undercover operations and acts as a very close liaison to the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi. The Administrative Police, given the task of securing the borders of Kenya, work in many rural areas on the outskirts of the country, with a larger concentration to the north. Following the 1998 attacks on the U.S. Embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam (Tanzania), the National Security Intelligence Service was created. This unit acts as an intelligence gathering service and does not have any significant face-to-face contact with the Kenyan people. The above divisions of the Kenyan Police Force all face numerous challenges when dealing with crime in Kenya. For one, the base monthly salary of a Kenyan police officer is eleven thousand shillings [roughly 143 USD] (Mukinda, 2010). The mere lack of assets and unsustainable lifestyle inherently breeds corruption. Kenya, as a whole, rates in the top 20% of corrupt countries worldwide as per the latest Corruption Perception Index (Ndegwa, 2009). Within Kenya itself, the highest rating corrupt body is the police force, holding an aggregate index of 57 percent (Kenya Bribery Index, 2008). This significant level of distrust between the public and the police drastically increases the challenges of effective crime control. Due to Kenya’s struggling economy, there is simply not enough money going towards policing and security.

The ratio of police to citizens throughout Africa is roughly half of that in North America and Europe, with rates of 180 per 100,000 compared with 346 and 325 respectively (UNODC, 2009). The subsequent consequences of an understaffed and struggling police force are a lack of training, poor equipment, and general incompetence (Maina et al, 2004). Moving forward in the last several years, the Kenyan Police Force has embarked on a mission to improve public relations and operations through community policing, increased qualifications, and professional training programs instituted by foreign governments and NGOs. Assistant Commissioner of Police Tom Omani stated that the major turning point in policing began in 1998 following the Kenya terrorist attack, however, gained the most momentum after Kibaki took power.

In Mr. Omani’s opinion, the most important change to the criminal justice system in Kenya is the community policing initiative, which asks for input and help from Kenyan citizens. While it is a slow process to regain the trust of most Kenyans, Omani is confident that crime cannot be fought by police alone and that it is prerequisite of controlling crime to have help from the community (Omani, personal statement, 2010). Analysis of Crime and Terrorism

Trends in crime throughout East Africa, specifically Kenya, are frequently evolving, giving law enforcement the difficult task of remaining vigilant. With advancements in global technology comes the emergence of criminal activity. In terms of Kenya, the major problems include: Terrorism, maritime piracy, human/drugs/arms trafficking, and cyber crime. Unfortunately, most law enforcement officials worldwide do not see solutions to any of these problems in the near future. For one, a vast majority of the responsibility for all crime in Kenya can be attributed to the porous borders that surround the country. Surrounding Kenya is the failed state of Somalia, war-torn Sudan, and crime-ridden Ethiopia and Uganda. Without proper border control, there is simply no realistic way to create a secure country. The U.S. Legal Attaché in Nairobi makes it very clear that there is no way to accurately assume the number of people crossing through the Somalia-Kenya border. However, he would estimate that 100,000 undocumented foreigners make entry into or exit Kenya every day (Legal Attaché, personal statement, 2010).

This figure is exceptionally upsetting when it is considered that Somalia houses al-Shabab, a terrorist group with self-declared ties to al-Qaeda. The presence of al-Qaeda in Kenya is directly responsible for the 1998 bombing of the U.S. embassy in Nairobi, therefore, leaving an innate hatred of the terrorist group for nearly every Kenyan. Besides the 1998 terrorist attacks that left over 200 people dead in Kenya, there was another significant attack that occurred in 2002. The Kikambala bombing in Mombasa was equally as gruesome and created an even more substantial cause for concern among Kenyans and law enforcement officials worldwide. A pro-Palestinian organization from Lebanon planted a bomb at an Israeli owned hotel in Mombasa killing and injuring dozens of people. In addition, two missiles were shot from land into the air and narrowly missed an Israeli charter plane. The missiles were neither used nor manufactured in Kenya, therefore, only could have entered the country through illegal means (The Threat from Portable Missiles, 2002). The international response was firm and expected but it was later made public that the Intelligence Community worldwide had knowledge of an imminent terrorist attack and failed to act on the information (McDermott, 2002). According to an official at the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi, the biggest consequence of a terrorist attack, besides the obvious loss of life, is the impact on tourism. As the second largest source of income for Kenya (after agriculture), “the tourism industry in Kenya has suffered [over the last decade] from the issuance of travel advisories by foreign governments” (Onyango, 2010). Every subsequent attack that takes place in Kenya further destroys the tourism market and makes surrounding nations that much more enjoyable (RSO, personal statement, 2010).

Most Kenyans, regardless of ethnicity or religion, understand these consequences and justifiably want solutions to the issue of terrorism. It is important to note that the embarrassment felt by Kenyans is universal but especially deep for Muslims. The Islamic community in Kenya is generally conservative but seldom fundamentalist. As a spokesperson for the Islamic population in the Coastal Province, Alawy Abzein reiterates that Muslims cooperate with the Government of Kenya to help catch those responsible for terrorist attacks (Abzein, personal statement, 2010). Reliable information was given to the Government of Kenya in 2008 regarding the whereabouts of Fazul Abdullah-Mohammed [the suspected mastermind behind the U.S. Embassy bombings], however, he narrowly escaped the search by Kenyan officials and is believed to be currently living in Somalia. Even if suspected terrorists are found, Kenya has no anti-terrorism laws in its judicial code. This means that Kenyan prosecutors must charge suspects with substantially less serious offenses, making it both difficult for a conviction and severely lenient even with a guilty verdict. Seven of the subjects arrested as a result of the Kikambala bombing were not tried successfully the first time in court (RSO, personal statement, 2010). This could be attributed to both ineffective legislation and the lack of competent prosecutors.

Most criminal prosecutions in Kenya are handled by Police Prosecutors who have minimal legal training. The system is based on British ideology from before Kenya’s independence and unfortunately, no longer works successfully given the present day environment. Kenya, as a whole, has an average of 74 public prosecutors countrywide leaving a significant gap between the many trials and the extent of manpower. According to legal expert Robert Bowman from the U.S. Department of Justice, such a small number of legitimate prosecutors creates an abundance of problems ranging from corruption to poorly handled trials and basic incompetence (Bowman, personal statement, 2010). Given the wide range of offenses throughout Kenya, conducting specialized training in emerging crimes for Kenyan officials would have the potential to make a profound difference in the criminal justice system both in terms of logistics and economics

Crime in Kenya
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Nairobi’s embassy in the aftermath of the 1998 bombings

There is a high rate of crime in all regions of Kenya, particularly in Nairobi, Mombasa, Kisumu, and coastal beach resorts. There are regular reports of attacks against tourists by groups of armed assailants.[1] However, the commonest crime in Kenya is carjacking so the criminal can commit an armed robbery. “Snatch and run” crimes are becoming more common on city streets. Contents

1 Carjacking
2 Theft and banditry
3 Political crime
4 Terrorism
5 Drug abuse
6 See also
7 References

The most common crime in Kenya is carjacking to commit an armed robbery.[2] In early 2007, two US citizens were killed and one critically injured in two separate carjacking incidents.[1] Nairobi averages about ten vehicle hijackings per day, while Kenyan authorities have limited capacity to deter or investigate such acts.[1] Matatus (public transportation) tend to be targeted since they carry up to 14 passengers.[1] Although these attacks are often violent, victims are generally not injured if they do not resist.[1] However, victims are sometimes tied up and put in the back seat or trunk of their own car.[2] Criminals who commit these crimes will not hesitate to shoot a victim who is the least bit uncooperative or who may appear to hesitate before complying with their assailant.[2] Theft and banditry

Pickpockets and thieves carry out “snatch and run” crimes on city streets and near crowds.[1] There have been reports of safes being stolen from hotel rooms and hotel desk staff being forced to open safes.[1] Thieves routinely snatch jewellery and other objects from open vehicle windows while motorists are either stopped at traffic lights or in heavy traffic.[1] Thieves on matatus, buses and trains may steal valuables from inattentive passengers.[1] Many scams, perpetrated against unsuspecting tourists, are prevalent in and around the city of Nairobi.[1] Many of these involve people impersonating police officers and using fake police ID badges and other credentials.[1] Nevertheless, police checkpoints are common in Kenya and all vehicles are required to stop if directed to do so.[1] There has been an increase in armed banditry in or near many of Kenya’s national parks and game reserves, particularly the Samburu, Leshaba, and Masai Mara game reserves.[1] In response, the Kenya Wildlife Service and police have taken some steps to strengthen security in the affected areas, but the problem has not been eliminated.[1]

Travelers who do not use the services of reputable travel firms or knowledgeable guides or drivers are especially at risk.[1] Although sometimes confused with the similarly-named North Rift Valley region, where cattle rustling and banditry is common, the separate North Eastern Province has been relatively peaceful since the appointment of its former Provincial Commissioner, Mohamoud Saleh. During his time in office, Saleh established an effective security committee consisting of clan elders and leaders, and worked closely with community members to assure security. Owing to the success of this “Saleh Strategy”, the Garissa Peace and Development Committee (GPDC) in 2010 hosted several high-level delegations from adjacent nations such as Uganda, and shared its experiences in community building. According to Interpol, the NEP’s commercial hub of Garissa is also one of the safest areas in the larger eastern Great Lakes region.[3] Political crime

Kenya is generally a peaceful and friendly country in its political activism, it is nonetheless common during elections, referendums and other political votes for campaign violence to occur around the country,[2]and ethnic clashes account for much of Kenya’s problems.[4] An early example of this was during the 1970s, when tribal clashes killed thousands and left tens of thousands homeless, which allowed Daniel arap Moi to be re-elected in balloting, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, “marred by violence and fraud.”[4] Since 29 December 2007, the day after Kenya’s National Parliamentary and presidential elections, violence erupted in major cities cross Kenya, including Nairobi, Mombasa, and Kisumu.[2] Clashes were reported throughout Kenya, which resulted in the deaths of over 600 Kenyans.[2] None of these incidents was targeted against the expatriate community.[2] [5] In the Corruption Perceptions Index 2007, Kenya was ranked 150th out of 179 countries for corruption (least corrupt countries are at the top of the list).[6] On a scale of 0 to 10, with 0 the most corrupt and 10 the most transparent, Transparency International rated Kenya 2.1.[6] Terrorism

Several persons (possibly tied to al-Qaeda) suspected of involvement with the 1998 East Africa Embassy attacks and the 2002 Kikambala attacks in Mombasa remain at large and potentially dangerous to tourists and Kenyans.[2][7] At the urging of the Al-Shabaab militant group,[8] a significant and increasing number of terrorist attacks in Kenya have been carried out by local Kenyans, many of whom are recent converts to Islam.[9] Estimates in 2012 placed the figure of Kenyan fighters at around 10% of Al-Shabaab’s total forces.[10] Referred to as the “Kenyan Mujahideen” by Al-Shabaab’s core members,[9] the converts are typically young and overzealous, poverty making them easier targets for the outfit’s recruitment activities. Because the Kenyan insurgents have a different profile from the Somali and Arab militants that allows them to blend in with the general population of Kenya, they are also often harder to track. Reports suggest that Al-Shabaab is attempting to build an even more multi-ethnic generation of fighters in the larger region.[10] One such recent convert who helped mastermind the Kampala bombings but now cooperates with the Kenyan police believes that in doing
so, the group is essentially trying to use local Kenyans to do its “dirty work” for it while its core members escape unscathed.[9] According to diplomats, Muslim areas in coastal Kenya and Tanzania, such as Mombasa and Zanzibar, are also especially vulnerable for recruitment.[10] Drug abuse

Drug abuse has become a major issue in Kenya, especially in Mombasa which is affected by this issue more than any other part of the country. Young men in their early 20s have been the most affected demographic. Women in Mombasa have held public protests, asking the government to move quickly to arrest young people using narcotics. In Mombasa and Kilindini, there are approximately 40 maskani (meaning “places” in Swahili) where drug abusers meet to share drugs. Bhang smoking has until recently been the drug of choice, but heroin injection is becoming increasingly popular. 70 percent of drug abusers have admitted that they are using heroin. In addition to drug abuse, the trafficking of illegal drugs in the country has become a major issue as well. An estimated 100 million dollars’ worth is trafficked within the country each year.[11]

Kenya’s security ranked among the worst in Africa
Kenya is in position 42 near the edge of the bottom-placed and ranking as poor in personal


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VIDEO: Kenya’s security ranks poorly
Kenya’s national security is ranked among the worst in Africa according to the latest Ibrahim Index of African Governance (IIAG) report released in London Monday. The country recently hit by international terrorists that saw a horrendous attack at the Westgate Mall killing over 67 people last month is grouped with failed nations like Somalia and others facing unmanageable security situations at the bottom of the sheet ranking 52 Africa nations. Kenya is in position 42 near the edge of the bottom-placed and ranking as poor in personal security for its citizens and visitors and in the safety
and rule of law indexes at 36 and 33 respectively The insecurity situation in Kenya

Date Posted: 5/13/2013 8:02:26 PM
Posted By: edwinsmiles Membership Level: Gold Total Points: 7708 The rate of insecurity in Kenya has gone high. In the times of the former president Moi, the security of every Kenyan was the priority of the government. Although that is still the case today, many of the Kenyan citizens have been crying of insecurity. Just last year before the elections, people were butchered in Tana River. Women, children and the old were not spared. The government sent many GSU officers to contain the situation but it was not until resent that the violence calmed. However many people are still living in fear and have never gone back to their homes. In Mandera, the situation is almost the same. There are times when clans fight against themselves. At times thugs throw grenades at people and the resent targets are security officers. The current government has a lot to do. There is a rise in insecurity in many areas including in Busia and Bungoma counties. In recent times, the residents of the two counties I mean in Busia and Bungoma counties have been living in fear after some unknown men who were armed with pangas and machetes entered a village and hacked villagers to death. The vice president did well to go and address the situation in the areas but was it a lasting solution to the insecurity issue? Safety and Security:

As in any country, there are a few safety and security issues in Kenya. Kenya is a poor country, and there are many people who are forced to make a living by illegal means. Normal Kenyan citizens are definitely targets, but rich, naive tourists are an even bigger temptation for thieves, pick pockets, and con artists. Crime is not so common in rural areas, but in big cities, especially Nairobi. By taking necessary precautions, however, the risks of a security incident can be reduced drastically. By decreasing the temptation for thieves, staying away from bad areas, and being aware and using common sense, you can have a safe trip. Luckily, violent crime is rare in Kenya, even in Nairobi. Violence exists, but thieves care only of a victim’s goods, and will not inflict harm unless necessary. An important part in eliminating
the risk of being hurt is remembering this: Always try to never fight with a thief, or chase a mugger, although it may go against your instincts. There are many forms of prevention that can A prospective threat can sometimes be noticed before the incident. If you think you’re been followed or eyed by a suspicious person or people, duck into a shop and wait it out. If you make them aware that you are on to them, they will usually give up. Incidents can also be prevented by the way you act. Always act confidently and look like you know where you’re going, even if you don’t. Stop in a shop to look at a map or ask directions. Another obvious form of prevention is never to show large amounts of money. Someone who pulls out a stack of 1000 shilling notes to pay for one item is asking to lose it all. Here are some other tips for having a safe trip. Theft:

Your bags and valuables are at the most risk when you are on the move. Hotel rooms are usually safe, except for the cheaper brothels. If the hotel has a safe deposit box, use it for your most valuable possessions. When moving in between places, such as from the airport to the hotel, or from the hotel to the bus stage, using a taxi is your best bet. When in rough areas of Nairobi, remember to keep the doors locked and don’t open the windows. If you’re taking public transportation, try to keep your bags in view. Your bags are usually always safe in the boot of a bus, but I’ve heard of touts taking items from a bag on top of a bus. There are several measures you can take to eliminate the risk of loosing items while traveling. First, put small locks on your baggage. If you have a backpack, lock the main compartments. Losing the entire piece of luggage is very rare, so this deters thieves from rooting through your luggage. Also, never keep you valuables in your bags, but on your person, preferably next to your skin. Money belts or pouches around your neck or waist is your best bet, although not fool-proof by any means. As a general rule, never walk anywhere at night. Taxis are sometimes expensive, but the price is worth it. If you are forced to walk, stay in groups and pay a night guard on the street to escort you. Mugging:

Of all of the security incidents I heard of in two and a half years in Kenya, most cases were mugging. In the vast majority of cases, the person lost only
a small amount of money. Anyone can get mugged, but if you carry only essential items, and hide those items well, you won’t have much to fear from muggers. Preventing getting mugged or pick pocketed is simple: don’t carry anything you can’t bear to lose. Of course, it’s necessary to carry some items, such as money and a passport, but if those are well placed on your body, you should have no fear of loosing anything to muggers. Don’t go out with more money that you need, and keep the money you that do need split up in many places on your body. For example, keep a little money in your pocket for spending, some between your foot and sock, and the rest in your money belt. Never wear items of value, such as watches or other jewelry. Desperate thieves have been known to rip off earrings, so they definitely won’t hesitate to snatch a bracelet or necklace. Nice sports caps are hot items, and it is common for thieves to snatch a cap and run. It bad areas, sunglasses can even be grabbed. If you must carry a camera out when walking around a big city, put it in your small bag or purse, and only take it out when you take a picture. Being mugged or having items stolen is still possible after taking all these preventions. If are a victim of crime, I again encourage you to cut your losses and let the thief go. Some gangs will send one member to take an item, them after being chased by the victim, lead him or her into an alley where the rest of his friends await to take everything. Being chased also gives them reason to use violence. Be careful about yelling “thief” after being mugged. Mob justice is common in Kenya, and one assumed thief is killed by citizens in Nairobi every day. If thieves are caught, you’ll end up seeing him beaten, perhaps even killed. Think about if your $9.99 watch is worth it. Unfortunately, thieves are hardly ever caught by police, and it usually isn’t worth you time to report the incident unless it is required for theft insurance. Harassment:

Harassment is the most common form of security risk. I include harassment because it can make travelers feel very uncomfortable and unsafe. Harassment ranges from being taunted to being touched inappropriately. When you’re laughed at, taunted or called names, the easiest thing to do is ignore it. Taking action is necessary, however, when being sexually harassed. Is is quite common for Kenyan men to make rude comments to women tourists. Even men are subjected to sexual harassment by prostitutes. There is no excuse
for someone, either woman or man, making a sexual comment or touching someone inappropriately. All Kenyans know better, so let the harasser know his or her actions are not wanted, and don’t be polite. Others around you may come to your aid if you tell them. If the harasser is not embarrassed enough to stop at this point, leave the scene. If the person follows, ask the help of a guard or store owner. Con Artists:

It’s quite common to run into someone in Nairobi who has a plan to separate some gullible tourist from his or her money. They take on the role of a political refugee and request money for their family. They’ll pretend like students collecting contribution for their schools. Men dress up as beggars, then, after you give them a coin or two, “plain clothed police” will tell you it’s illegal and ask for a “fine.” They come up with stories that they know you from somewhere are just need a little something for some petrol, then they’ll pay you back. They may even drop money, then after you return it, claim that you have taken some and threaten to tell the police. Con artists think of new stories every day, and it can be quite entertaining to listen to them. Use of common sense is your main weapon against confidence tricks. If you’re not sure whether to believe it, your surely right. Never give money to any stranger. Street Kids:

Homeless are very common in Kenyan cities, especially young boys, some that can be very big boys. These boys band together in large groups and can make one feel unsafe even if they’re only begging for change. The best way to get rid of a single street kid, or a small group, is to ignore them and walk on. If they follow, it may help to tell them you have no money, or that you’ll give them something later. Giving money is hardly ever dangerous, but remember that giving money encourages more kids to work the streets and the money may be used to buy glue, which is sniffed by the boys to escape their harsh reality. If you must give something, buying homeless a meal is always a good way to lend a hand. Violent crime:

Violent crime can be prevented by not resisting, chasing, or fighting thieves. Walking around at night, especially alone, increases your chances or violent crime. Fortunately, if you take these precautions and use common
sense, you can almost completely eliminate all chance of being a victim of violent crime. There is Insecurity in Northeastern Kenya – Who should take the blame? Posted by African Press International on May 20, 2013

GARISSA-NAIROBI, – The presence of foreign militias in parts of northeastern Kenya, and their collusion with security officials and business people there, may be to blame for a rise in insecurity in the region, where multiple gun and grenade attacks have been reported over the past two years. But securing northern Kenya is increasingly vital to the government, with the badlands growing in economic viability, the new constitution shifting power to the counties, and mega development projects being planned in the region.In October 2011, Kenyan troops launched an intervention into Somalia in pursuit of the Somali insurgent Al-Shabab militia, which it blamed for incursions into Kenya. Since then, dozens of people, including security officers, have been killed in attacks, mainly in the northeastern town of Garissa and the mainly-Somali Dadaab refugee camp. To address this, a number of security operations have been launched, involving the deployment of hundreds of police and military officers, arrests and curfews, as well the cessation of the registration of new Somali refugees amid fears of Al-Shabab infiltration. The most recent security operation in Garissa led to hundreds of arrests. “Ten police officers, among them the head of crime investigations [and] six local [administration] chiefs, have been suspended,” Charles Mureithi, the northeastern regional police chief, told IRIN, adding, “More arrests are on the way, and, of course, convictions.” The police officers and chiefs were said to be operating in league with the criminals, a view shared by a Garissa political leader, who spoke with IRIN on the condition of anonymity. “The monster responsible for all the sufferings we have experienced is… a club of wealthy traders from the Far East, Somalia [and] Kenya [as well as] politicians, our security officers and at least two sects of Al-Shabab,” said the Garissa leader. Who is to blame for the rising insecurity?

An Al-Shabab-linked militia group has been blamed for some of the attacks in Garissa. “They only strike with an objective [of] fight[ing] other religions,” said Maulid*, a Garissa resident. “In Garissa, they worship in
two mosques, same [as] in Nairobi. They consider us as infidels.” Churches in Garissa have been among the buildings targeted by grenade attacks. An Islamic religious leader, who preferred anonymity, called for the arrest of Al-Shabab-linked leaders and the seizure of their properties. “We want to see traders who paid gangs of criminals to kill arrested,” he said. According to Ahmed Yasin, a political science graduate from Somalia, the Al-Shabab-linked militias are retaliating against some prominent Kenyan Somalis’ support for the creation of an autonomous region of Jubaland in southern Somalia – which could serve as a buffer zone between the two countries – and against their support for the Ras Kamboni militia. In September 2012, the Ras Kamboni militia, alongside Kenyan troops, forced Al-Shabab out of the lucrative port city of Kismayo, which is a key economic and strategic resource for militias in southern Somalia. On 15 May, Ras Kamboni leader Sheikh Ahmed Madobe was announced as Jubaland’s president. While Al-Shabab is bitter at losing Kismayo, Yasin said, it also opposes the creation of a buffer zone, which would protect Kenya from Al-Shabab incursions. “Political leaders, elders and clerics must abandon support for [the] Ras Kamboni militia group… They must be wise [and] restrain from Somalia politics… and let their people enjoy peace,” warned Yasin. What has been the fallout of the insecurity?

A security operation to pacify the region has led to dozens of arrests; those found without legal identification documents were netted. Rights groups, however, are critical of these sweeping operations. Some Kenyan youths in Garissa are wrongfully being arrested as they lack identity cards, said Abdiwelli Mohamed of the local organization Citizens Rights Watch. The process of acquiring identification documents is often fraught with challenges, including long delays in the often-neglected northern region. According to Khalif Abdi Farah of the Garissa Northern Forum for Democracy, a civil society organization, dozens of people have also been injured, with others being illegally arrested in the crackdown. The police denied claims of arbitrary arrests, a view shared by Haji*, a Garissa resident and retailer. “It’s true [that] the police conducted house-to-house searches [and] stopped people on the streets. They checked identity cards and counter-checked with a list they were carrying. It’s clear [that] they are
looking for particular individuals,” he said. Besides a rising death toll and a large number of people injured in attacks over the past two years, the insecurity has had adverse socio-economic effects. Garissa businesses have been hit hard. A night club and guest house owner in Garissa said his business has suffered due to the curfew. “I only have an hour to operate. [I] open the pub at 5pm and close by 6pm.” Fear has also affected his business: “My guest house clients, [who] were mainly travellers either heading to Wajir, Mandera or Nairobi, these days no longer spend a night in Garissa for fear of arrest or attack,” he said. Proceeds from the once-booming Garissa livestock market are declining too, said a revenue officer, noting that livestock traders are afraid of arrest. Asset and property values have also dropped significantly since December 2012, with fewer people opting to live or invest in Garissa. Why is securing northern Kenya vital?

Securing Garissa and other northern Kenya regions has become a priority for the government, particularly amid the country’s newly devolved governance structure, lucrative cross-border development plans and the north’s growing economic viability. Devolution, a centrepiece of Kenya’s 2010 constitution, will allocate more resources to the county governments, a move that is expected to reduce the marginalization of outer areas like northern Kenya. Kenya is also seeking to develop closer ties with its neighbours in the north, mainly Ethiopia, Sudan and South Sudan, amid planned mega development projects, such as the Lamu Port and Southern Sudan-Ethiopia Transport Corridor (LAPSSET), which will link the Horn of Africa region. “Previously peripheral areas to the north and east will assume a new economic, and so political, significance,” states a 2 May analysis by Oxford Analytica, a global analysis and advisory firm, which notes that development had previously been concentrated in the central belt stretching from Nairobi to the Ugandan border. Kenya also expects to get relief from its current electricity shortages by 2016 thorough the Eastern Electricity Highway Project, which will connect Kenya’s electrical grid to Ethiopia’s, adds the analysis. “Protecting this supply will require: greater security in border areas; more careful management of local conflicts between communities in border areas to prevent escalation into disputes between the two states; and
continued friendly relations between Nairobi and Addis Ababa.” Recent oil discoveries in northwest Kenya, and ongoing exploration in other regions, such as near Lamu, “ further underline the importance of once-peripheral areas of the country to future economic development,” added the analysis. What challenges lie ahead?

“Nairobi’s incentive to extend state authority to historically neglected regions will grow, but not without facing significant challenges,” said a 14 May Oxford Analytica analysis. The northern Kenya regions are characterized by widespread insecurity. Inter-communal violence and the proliferation of small arms are common, the state is largely absent, and the borders are mostly porous. For example, there are currently inter-clan clashes in Mandera, which neighbours Garissa, with several people being reported dead and at least 6,600 displaced, according to the Kenya Red Cross Society. In response, security in Mandera has been beefed up and residents have been urged to surrender illegal firearms. Forceful disarmament is likely there, as similar moves have occurred elsewhere in the north. But this only further alienates residents who blame insecurity on the inadequate state presence. “While such events appear familiar and of little wider significance, the new geography of Kenya’s development plan – including energy, transportation, hydrocarbons – alters the political considerations of centre-periphery relations and increases the relevance of long-standing insecurity and distrust,” Oxford Analytica’s 14 May analysis said. “If an historical state reliance on coercion continues, rising insecurity in northern and coastal areas creates some risks for smoother longer-term economic development,” it noted. Kenya After the Elections, a 15 May policy briefing by the International Crisis Group (ICG), warns that devolution may not “be a ‘magic bullet’ that will allow the country to correct historical patterns of neglect, and redress regional marginalization and inequitable development… There are concerns devolution could ultimately balkanize counties, creating ‘ethnic fiefdoms’.” The briefing urges county governments to be inclusive of minority interests to address inequality. “The new government has the opportunity to usher in a new era of peace and socioeconomic development that would benefit all communities and unite the country. The foundation has been laid with the overwhelming support the constitution received in 2010, a
base that should be maintained and built upon for a peaceful and prosperous future.”