Thursday, October 14, 2010

Combating Organised Crime in Kenya - The African Blog

The other question repeatedly asked by the citizens is whether the police have the capacity to provide and maintain security in areas where mungiki and other organised criminal groups thrive? The mungiki draws its members from poor communities and gives members a sense of purpose, cultural and political identity, as well as income.

Indeed, mungiki have a strong threshold in slum areas where they operate, thus making it increasingly difficult to effectively ensure security and enforce the rule of law. They purportedly have taken up duties that the state has not sufficiently provided such as security, transport, and even traditional government functions such as collection of garbage. Extortion seems to be the order of the day, as citizens have to provide ‘a small fee’ for these services. Failure to pay the expected fees results in death or loss of property through arson or malicious damage.

The mungiki sect mirrors the discontent arising from severe unemployment and landlessness caused by Kenya’s rapid population growth. Its leadership claims to have over three million members around the country and have infiltrated civil service, factories, schools and the uniformed forces. Such members do not necessarily sport dreadlocks – like the mungiki - but support and finance the sect behind the scenes.

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