The KEPSA Security Sector Board held its monthly meeting on 10th April, 2018 at KEPSA Offices. The meeting was chaired by the Vice Chair, Ms. Judy Wambugu.
The members present reported that a few of them had attended the Launch of the Book on the Impact of Organized Gangs on Social Cohesion on 28th March, 2018 at Sarova Stanley. The launch was organised by the National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC). In line with its mandate, the Commission conducted a study ahead on 2017 General Elections. The findings of the study pointed to the increasing use of structured armed groups who cause harm to innocent civilians in the course of the political process.
In a research that was conducted between November 2016 and June 2017, it was found that organized gangs are increasing and almost 90% are mobilized, financed and deployed by politicians and are a key factor to social disintegration. A total of 116 new organized gangs that participated in political violence were identified in the 15 Counties alone. It was noted that apart from politicians, business people, government officials, women and youth are responsible for organized gangs.
The research found that organized gangs have a negative impact on social cohesion at both the community and national levels with 69.2% affirming this assertion. The gangs engage in violence, smuggling of fire arms, violence targeted at political rivals, hate speech, extortion, drug trafficking and are a prime target of terrorist groups.
To address the increase of gangs, the research proposed strengthening of community policing, investment in the social welfare of both skilled and unskilled youth, reviewing of the NCIC Act (no. 12 of 2008), undertake systematic clean-up of arm in circulation, adopt systematic, comprehensive and regular profiling of gangs, strengthen the implementation of the integrity and ethics Act, enhance public awareness on national values and partnering with Civil Societies to implement peace and cohesion projects among other recommendations.
The research found out that Kisumu, Bungoma, Mombasa and Nairobi are the most affected by organized gangs.