Facts about ... Majeshi ya Wazee / Makumi Mwagiru ; Olang Sana ; Kenneth P. Njau - [Electronic ed.] - Nairobi, 2002 - IV, 34 S. : Ill. = 10, 390 KB, PDF-File - ISBN 9966-957-36-7
Electronic ed: Nairobi : FES, 2002.

© Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung


[page-number of print ed.: III]





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History of Political Violence in Nairobi


Social Status of the actual and potential perpetrators of political violence


Parties and individuals involved in political violence


Recruitment process and tools used by perpetrators of political violence


Motivation and Consequences of political violence


Effects of political violence




[page-number of print ed.: IV]


Political activist, political thug, goon, mobiliser? Who is this? Does it really matter what we call them?

The name to call them has been a subject of debate whenever discussions among groups involved in a project on pre-electoral violence in Nairobi are held. But isn't the issue to worry about what they do as opposed to the "politically" correct and sensitive name to call them?

Is a thug an activated mass of human energy fired by a strong desire for money, pure thirst for blood or just survival? Or is it a person who, after careful scrutiny of the situation and conditions around them, decides enough of a bad thing is enough and goes out with one conviction - we must change the way things are by hook or crook! - A conviction or ideology?

Pre-electoral violence is not a strange phenomenon in Nairobi, in particular and Kenya in general. Its impact as an instrument of intimidation to force "popularity" is glaringly evident. Acts of terror unleashed by youths associated with one or other politician or power brokers commanding groups known as jeshis or militias need not be over-emphasised. These sometimes fatal acts are committed in the name of, sometimes age old animalistic practices, such as marking of territories, as evidenced in the creation of no-go areas in the name of one or other political party zoning.

The Centre for Conflict Research (CCR) sought to answer a few questions that were emerging more and more often as political temperatures rose especially prior to a by-election or general election. The research sought to answer the following questions among others:

  • Who are these political thugs?
  • From where do they get their motivation?
  • Where does the demand for their services come from?
  • Who are the suppliers and their backgrounds?
  • How are they recruited?
  • How are they organised?
  • Is it for ideology or just for money?

In this first publication on the findings of a study of political violence in Nairobi, the researchers answer some of these questions. The study was conducted from October to December, 2001.

It is hoped that with the publication of the results, more thought and ways to reduce or eliminate the phenomenon altogether, will be put to the issues raised. If left unattended, political violence threatens to tear through the very fabric of one of the most important democratic practices in any country - ELECTIONS.

X Wanjiku Mbugua
Project Co-ordinator
Friedrich Ebert Stiftung

Dr. Makumi Mwagiru
Centre for Conflict Research (CCR)

© Friedrich Ebert Stiftung | technical support | net edition fes-library | April 2003