Contributions of Organisations to Stability and Insecurity during Election Times: A Case Study of a Kenyan Informal Settlement

Wednesday, 18 July 2018: 10:30
Oral Presentation
Stephen VERTIGANS, Robert Gordon University, United Kingdom
The ill placed optimism surrounding globalisation’s inclusivity and egalitarian potential has been increasingly replaced by the stark reality of fragmentation according to locational, group and individual positioning within processes of functional democratisation. Huge swathes of populations remain on the margins with weak levels of power and economic participation. This proposal focuses on one such location in Kibera, Nairobi, Kenya which is the largest informal settlement in East Africa. The settlement is associated nationally with high levels of crime and violence alongside low incomes and poor health and education. State organisational commitments to the area tend to be restricted to security force presence during times of tensions. Thus far 2017 has largely been a period of tension with Presidential elections contributing to ethnic rivalries.

Against this stereotypical backdrop of life within informal settlements, there is considerable resilience and community driven opportunities for collective action designed to protect and improve local lives. A range of organisations are intertwined within the figurations including family, schools, business, NGOs and political parties. The bulk of the paper examines the roles of these organisations both in helping to shape forms of cohesion and integration and fragmentation and divisive We/I identifications. Recent fieldwork in Kibera, and extended to include outcomes from the October rerun of the Presidential elections, is drawn upon to help explain the interconnections between these organisations, levels of electoral tension and changing patterns of political violence.