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Political Science
POLI 324
Khalid Medani

David Anderson: Vigilantes, Violence and the politics of public order in Kenya -The article looks at the proliferation of vigilante groups in Nairobi as a product of rising urban crime but also as tactic of the ruling party KANU to protect its interests. -The Kariobangi massacre of 2002 where a group of armed ‘mungiki’ sect members retailiated against an earlier clash with the ‘taliban’ vigilante group, killing several innocent people. Questions arose as the the possible political motivation of such an attack, as the Mungiki were rumoured to be protected by political actors, and even backed by police. --The Mungiki are originally from the Gikuyu ethnic group and were part of a breakaway protestant church faction that made reference to traditional pre-colonial Gikuyu egalitarianism ect. Found broad support in slums as a critique of the Kenyan state. Members make constant reference to the oppression of the Kenyan state and cultural imperialism. Mungiki calls for Gikuyu people to throw off the chains of colonialism and cultural imperialism and encourages unity amongst Gikuyu. Excludes all other enicities, is not a Kenyan nationalist movement. Calls for the restoration of traditional practices. -The Mungiki is interesting in its hybrid nature as rural movement and urban militia and also in terms of its apparent ideological incohesivenss, several members made statements which contradicted its core beliefs. Recently, in an aexmaple of opportunism, several high ranking members announced publically that they planned toc ovnert to islam and that any attacks against the organization would be attacks on muslims worldwide. This came in the face of a planned crackdown by government forces. -Recently the organization disrupted mini-bus services throughout the city, demanding that they be allowed to manage them in light of fare increases and alleged corruption. They claimed to have political and police backing. -also during rent riots in slums the organization took the side of the primarily muslim landlords. This highlighted the ethnic, economic and political implication of the organizations activites. -Although no concrete link has been established, widespread speculation in Kenyan newspapers that the organization is supported by KANU has caused concern. The failure of the police to arrest members after signifgant incidents provides further evidence. Also there has been rumo
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