Youth and violent conflicts in Nairobi's Kibera Slum 1992-2008
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.