‘Thieves Should not Live Amongst People’: Under-Protection and Popular Support for Police Violence in Nairobi
This paper examines how communities at the urban margins, who are under-protected by the state police, understand police reforms through an examination of the unusual case of street protests in support of a police officer who had killed two young men in Githurai in Nairobi.
I explore how the under-protection of communities at the urban margins by the police leads to a reliance on various forms of vigilantism to generate security and justice outcomes. Noting the limitations of community vigilantism, I explore how these communities come to rely on police vigilantism, a form of vigilantism that has received limited attention in African studies.
Based on insights generated from data collected in Githurai in March and April 2015, I argue that residents of Githurai protested against the arrest of a local police vigilante, whom they had come to rely on for security, because they considered his deployment of violence against suspected criminals to be justified and also feared that his arrest would expose them to further insecurity.
I conclude that police reform efforts should pay attention to the innovations that communities have developed at the grassroots to generate security and justice outcome in absence of reliable protection by the state police.
Wairuri, K. (2022). ‘Thieves Should not Live Amongst People’: Under-Protection and Popular Support for Police Violence in Nairobi. African affairs; journal of the Royal African Society, 121(482), 61-79. https://doi.org/10.1093/afraf/adac006
|Journal Article Type||Article|
|Acceptance Date||Feb 2, 2022|
|Online Publication Date||Feb 9, 2022|
|Deposit Date||Dec 13, 2022|
|Publisher||Oxford University Press|
|Peer Reviewed||Peer Reviewed|
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