Added: March 4, 2017 – Last updated: March 4, 2017


Author: Christabel A(lice) Adhiambo

Title: Youth and Violent Conflicts in Nairobi's Kibera Slum 1992-2008

Subtitle: -

Thesis: M.A. Thesis, University of Nairobi

Advisor: Vincent Simiyu

Year: 2012

Pages: xiii + 90pp.

Language: English

Keywords: Modern History: 20th Century, 21st Century | African History: Kenyan History


Link: UoN Digital Archive (Free Access)


Abstract: »This study examines youth involvement in conflict in Nairobi's Kibera Slum from 1992 to 2008. The themes within the study includes; how the historical settlement within Kibera has a contribution to youth participation in conflict in the area, factors that have contributed to youth participation in conflict in Kenya since 1992, factqrs for youth involvement in conflict in Kibera since 1992 and the impact of conflict in Kibera since 1992. The study design is mainly descriptive based on in-depth oral interviews and historical method.
The aim of this research was to discuss various factors that drive the youth to participate in conflict specifically in Kibera and its impact. The project is based on two theoretically derived assumptions: first, greed or opportunity perspective which indicates that the youth participate in violent conflict for potential gain on material incentives. Secondly, youth violence is due to frustration that has left them unable to attain their social status. At this stage, youth view violence as a means of survival and belonging. The study tested the magnitude of these two theories concerning youth participation in violent conflict within Kibera and brought out other factors to compliment the two.
In the recent past, Kenya has been riddled with conflict and violence where the youth have been fully involved, the trend is worrying as studies feature them as targets and perpetrators and also as direct victims. The project locates the triggers for the subsequent violence which has rocked Kenya since 1992 with the worst in 2007 which saw more than a thousand Kenyans killed and between 300,000 and 500,000 internally displaced. Among the areas most heavily hit was the capital city of Nairobi. Within Kenya's political heart, the bulk of the violence took place in the slums with Kibera bearing the worst brunt due to massive confrontations between supporters of ODM and those of PNU.
The findings of the study indicates that the youth in Kibera engaged in violent conflict due to a number of reasons ranging from; social, political and economic factors. On the social findings, poor living condtions, exclusion and inequality, ethnic sterotype comes out clearly to replicate why the youth engage in violent conflict. Economic factors include among other, unemployment while the political factor blamed for conflict incudes inflammatory statements from our politicians and role of the security organs among others. Although have been participating in conflict in Kibera since 1992, the study has indicated that Kibera experienced perhaps the darkest chapter in its 100 year during the 2007108 post-election violence. During this period, unknown property worth millions of shillings and homes were looted and burnt down, many people lost their lives especially the youth, a number were injured and with thousands displaced. What comes out clear in this study is that in Kibera, the primarily political driven violence quickly evolves into an all consuming amalgam of ethnic, political and instrumentally motivated acts of individual or group violence.
It is important to not that the research only took place in the five villages within Kibera namely; Silanga, Gatwekera, Kisumu Ndogo, Laini Saba and Soweto. These villages' lies south of the railway track that seperates the poor south of the track with the relatively rich North of the track. This therefore indicates that still there is room for study on youth and conflict within Kibera.« (Source: Thesis)


  Declaration (p. i)
  Dedication (p. ii)
  Acknowledgments (p. iii)
  Abstract (p. iv)
  List of abbreviations and acronyms (p. vi)
  Operational definition of terms (p. viii)
  Chapter One: Background to the Study (p. 1)
  1.0 Introduction (p. 1)
  1.1 Statement of the Problem (p. 5)
  1.2 Objectives of the Study (p. 6)
  1.3 Justification of the Study (p. 6)
  1.4 Scope and Limitation of the Study (p. 7)
  1.5 Literature Review (p. 8)
  1.6 Theoretical Framework (p. 15)
  1.7 Hypothesis (p. 17)
  1.8 Methodology (p. 17)
  Chapter Two: Settlement of Kibcra area to 1992 (p. 19)
  2.0 Introduction (p. 19)
  2.1 Kibera Settlement from 1900 to 1945 (p. 21)
  2.2 Kibera after 1945 (p. 24)
  2.3 Kibera Since 1963 (p. 25)
  2.4 Kibera Since 2008 (p. 28)
  2.5 Conclusion (p. 30)
  Chapter Three: Youth and conflict in Kibera. 1992-2008 (p. 31)
  3.0 Introduction (p. 31)
  3.1 Kibera Violence of 1992 (p. 32)
  3.2 Kibera Violence of 1997/98 (p. 33)
  3.3 Kibera Violence of 2002 (p. 34)
  3.4 Kibera Violence of 2007/08 (p. 37)
  3.5 Factors for Youth Involvement in Violent Conflict in Kibera. 1992-2008 (p. 41)
    3.5.1 Poor Living Conditions (p. 43)
    3.5.2 Unemployment among the youth (p. 45)
    3.5.3 Exclusion and Inequality (p. 47)
    3.5.4 Existence of Organized Youth Gangs (p. 50)
    3.5.5 Perceived Mismanagement of the 2007 Elections (p. 51)
    3.5.6 Ethnic Stereotypes (p. 52)
    3.5.7 Inflammatory Statements (p. 52)
    3.5.8 Harassment by Security Organs (p. 53)
    3.5.9 The Abortive NARC Dream and the New Constitution (p. 53)
    3.5.10 Role of Parents (p. 54)
    3.5.11 Need to Sustain Livelihood (p. 54)
    3.5.12 Breakdown of Social Norms (p. 54)
    3.5.13 Rural Urban Migration (p. 57)
    3.5.14 Conclusion (p. 58)
  Chapter Four: Impact of the Youth Involvement in Conflict on Kibera (p. 60)
  4.0 Introduction (p. 60)
  4.1 Impact of Conflict on Kibera (p. 61)
    4.1.1 Displacement of People (p. 61)
    4.1.2 Loss of Lives and Physical Injuries (p. 62)
    4.1.3 Forced Circumcision (p. 65)
    4.1.4 Rape (p. 65)
    4.1.5 Destruction of Properties and Homes (p. 66)
    4.1.6 High cost of living (p. 68)
    4.1.7 Displacement of Landlords (p. 68)
    4.1.8 Interference of Learning in Schools (p. 69)
    4.1.9 Destruction of Infrastructure (p. 70)
    4.1.10 Breakdown of Families (p. 70)
    4.1.11 Loss of Jobs and Businesses (p. 71)
    4.1.12 Proliferation of Arms (p. 72)
    4.1.13 Rise of Illegal Gangs/Vigilante Groups (p. 72)
    4.1.14 Balkanization of Ethnic Groups (p. 73)
    4.1.15 Persistent Culture of Impunity among the Youth (p. 73)
    4.1.16 Mistrust between Landlords and Tenants (p. 74)
    4.1.17 Conclusion (p. 74)
  Chapter Five: Conclusion (p. 76)
  Bibliography (p. 85)
    Oral Interviews (p. 85)
    Reports (p. 86)
    National policies and Legislation (p. 87)
    Internet Sources (p. 87)
    Books and Journals (p. 87)

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