Transforming the Narrative of Violence in Kenya to a Narrative of Nonviolence

Transforming the Narrative of Violence in Kenya to a Narrative of Nonviolence

Mukurima Muriuki (California State University – Dominguez Hills, USA)
Copyright: © 2020 |Pages: 19
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-3019-1.ch048
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This chapter examines nonviolence as conflict resolution method in Kenya, and postulates that the advantages presented by nonviolence stand to help society overcome the trappings presented by violence. The author explores the idea of violence as laid out in the narrative and structure of the Kenyan society, the plausible reasons that gives rise to violence as a way of agitation for perceived rights and freedoms, and resolving conflicts.This chapter has focused on the history of Kenya with respect to the aspirations that existed during the time of clamor for independence and how the inability to make those dreams a reality curtailed the dreams, hopes, and aspirations of many who fought for independence and therefore creating a disenfranchised population, and above all, planting seeds of violence. This chapter observes that economic empowerment is a necessary tool to inculcate the theme of nonviolence in society. The author suggests using activities such as soccer and other related sports to create ambassadors and warriors for nonviolence.
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A Brief Kenyan History

Kenya is an anchor country in the Sub-Saharan region of Africa known for its lead role in promoting regional stability (Vasudevan, 2008), signifying Kenya’s efforts at fostering positive peace within the Sub-Saharan region. The strategies Kenya has utilized to achieve the positive peace revolve around nonviolence, and include use of shuttle diplomacy, negotiation, mediation, among other approaches that build as opposed to destroying. The author presents violent protest as a pursuit to resolution of a conflict anchored in process that hurts, harms, ridicules, destroys, denigrates, and offends.

Regrettably, social ills continue to plague Kenya, in some cases, resulting in citizens pursuing solutions premised on the notion of violence. When citizens lack confidence in legal institutuons set up to provide a framework that promotes what is just and fair in the eyes of the reasonable, there is a likehood that citizens will may opt for violence as an alternative to resolving underlying conflict.

The institutional failure to provide direction on matters dealing with implementation of justice has to a larger extent contributed to the prevalence of corruption in Kenya. The assumption the author makes is that corruption is directly related to poor governance. The 2015 Corruption Perceptions Index ranks Kenya as the 139th most corrupt country in the world. The top-ranked country in the index is viewed as least corrupt whereas the country occupying the lower rung of the ladder is assessed as most corrupt.

The author makes the case for why corruption has thrived in Kenya, arguing that it is primarily because of lack of institutional accountability. Mbai (2003) articulates that accountability has led to a decline in the standard of provision of public services and economic growth in Kenya (2003). Building on the work of Laleye (1993), Mbai defines “Public Accountability” as the erection of sanctions and procedures by which public officials may be held to account for their actions. Furthermore, Mbai abhors the lack of accountability and inability to prosecute those culpable in spite of existing legal instruments and established watchdog institutions for regulating and monitoring the ethical behavior of its public officials.

When Kenya attained independence from British colonial rule in 1963, there were certain rights that the prevailing constitution guaranteed including freedom of speech, movement, and expression. The quest to attain these freedoms ostensibly inspired the frontiers of Kenya’s independence to sacrifice family time and life for the sake of liberating the country from colonial rule.

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