Factors influencing proliferation of illicit small arms and light weapons in Makadara and Embakasi divisions, Nairobi east district, Kenya
Proliferation of Small arms and Light weapons into the country presents a serious threat to public safety in the country. The numerous cases of armed conflict within the pastoralist zones, armed crimes and the emerging acts of terrorism are key indicators that there are many arms in the wrong hands. The upsurge of illicit Small arms and Light weapons poses a great challenge to the government as it seeks to address increasing insecurity in the country. This study aimed at establishing the factors influencing the proliferation of Small arms and light weapons into the country in order to propose practical measures of addressing the spread and effects caused by illegal ownership. The study sought to interrogate how the supply of illicit small arms, demand and cost influence their proliferation. The study adopted a descriptive research design and targeted respondents’ in Embakasi and Makadara for interviews and filling-in questionnaires to obtain primary data while in-house text books, reports, journals, newspapers and companies’ websites and publications constituted sources of secondary data. A total of 22 key informants’ and 57 questionnaires were administered to the target population. The generated data was then analyzed using Statistical Package for Social Science, version 21, for easy analysis and drawing of conclusions. The study established that there were high supply of Small arms in both Embakasi and Makadara divisions from neighboring countries. It also established that joblessness among the youth and the need to secure personal property by business class fueled demand. The study concludes that high supply coupled with high demand caused the proliferation of illicit small arms in Embakasi and Makadara divisions. The study could not however attribute the high proliferation to low cost since, majority of the consumers of these arms, the youth, could not afford to buy them, instead they hired. The study concluded that there was a serious problem of illicit small arms proliferation in Embakasi and Makadara divisions and recommended both the National and County governments to increases patrols on border points, enforce law on illicit immigrants and ensure corrupt officers abetting entry of illicit arms into the country are prosecuted.