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Republic of Kenya

Member

The Republic of Kenya

Kenya has contended with the challenges of illicit small arms possession and usage for decades. While small arms possession in Kenya predates colonialism (especially in the pastoralist north), urban gun problems can be traced way back to the anti-colonial struggle in central Kenya (including Nairobi) during the 1950s. 

As such, small arms are as much a present challenge as they have been a historical one. The manifestation of the challenges of averse SALW has been such that they have presented not only a security challenge to the authority of the state (although this was largely limited to Northern Frontier districts), but also have presented a problem of law enforcement.

What to Expect

Non-state actors who have come into possession of illicit SALWs have mainly used them to perpetuate crime and criminality in both urban and rural areas. In many parts of Kenya – especially the northern regions – SALW have been widely used to perpetuate conflicts. This has had adverse negative effects on not only the economic wellbeing of the population, but also social, cultural, and political factors in Kenya. Although the Kenya Government has focused most of its disarmament operations in pastoralist areas, arms are increasingly posing significant socio-economic, political and security risks countrywide. 

 

For instance, the pastoralist areas of Kenya have remained under-developed, and insecurity in those places remains a disincentive for local and international investment. In the more agriculturally productive areas of central Rift Valley, recurrent inter-ethnic violence has grown more lethal with every election cycle, while the 2008 post-election violence triggered new demand for guns in the region. Given the increasing allure of the gun to communities in electoral violence-hit zones, if the post-polls conflict phenomenon persists, such fighting can get more complicated, with the possibility of cancerous civil strife being imaginable.

What to Expect

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