Conflict Monitoring Tool validation workshop of 2023 findings for Nairobi region was done on 9th October, 2023 at Hekima Institute of Peace Studies and International Relations. The workshop was started by a word of prayer from Mr. Hezbon Awiti followed by the participants’ introduction session. After the introduction, the presentation of the research findings was done by Mr. Linus Kawuondi. The workshop was purposed to present the research findings to the participants in Nairobi, for them to critique, affirm, suggest and recommend on the possible areas for improvements. The objectives of the research was to improve the conflict monitoring tool by identifying the level of conflict in Kenya using the CMT curve tool, the actors and drivers of conflict, as well as examining the local and regional peace interventions for promoting peace stability across the region.
According to the research findings, the conflict level of Nairobi region was at 2.49, indicating confrontation level of conflict. The findings showed that more male than female participated in the study at 63.16% males and 36.84% females. The most prevailing conflicts were domestic violence at 52.63%, armed robbery and theft at 42.12% and cattle rustling and border violence at 31.58%. Participants during the validation contested the high percentage of cattle rustling arguing that cattle rustling might be a source of conflict but does not affect Nairobi as much. The key drivers of conflict were unemployment at 63.16%, ethnicized politics leading to political power imbalance at 47.37% and failure of judicial system at 42.11%. The main actors of conflict were political leaders, and government security forces at 84.21% and 52.63% respectively.
The participants pointed out that cattle rustling and border violence are not the most prevalent conflict in Nairobi, however they argued that cattle theft is common than cattle rustling. A youth representative that, “Since the onset of drought in Samburu, there has been the migration of animals to Nairobi because of drought. On the same, people steal the cattle and slaughter them for commercial purpose.” Subsequently during the validation workshop, most of the participants mentioned ethical differences as the main source of conflict. This is because different tribes have a sense of superiority over the other thus bringing a tail on advancement in the country thus exposing the country to conflicts. This is also seen in political issues across the country where appointment of leaders in government offices is politicized. A political activist said that, “At this point, the young generation have the potential to change everything and bring peace if led in the right direction. It is evident that politics in the country is divisive- it is an ‘us vs them’ and ‘rich vs poor’ politics.” Participants also highlighted that there is the rise of criminal militia groups who are important actors to consider in the research. A religious leader said, “It is evident that gang groups are an outcome of unemployment. For instance when the initiative of ‘Kazi kwa vijana’ was introduced, gang recruitment in Mathare reduced since young people were able to get livelihoods from the initiative. When the initiative ended, young people went back to joining gang groups. We need to understand when we talk about unemployment, what are the contributing factors for that.” Further another participant echoed that some police officers are the actors of conflicts since they are the providers of small arms and light weapons to some gangs.
During the discussion, it was noted by participants that an important aspect to consider is the National and Global Interest. This factor is crucial since actors in the government and international space are enablers of conflict so that they can benefit from what comes along with it. One of the participants suggested that:
“There are ongoing processes in the National Counter- Terrorism sector as there is the National Security Council Committee meant to govern and manage terrorism. I suggest that we should come up with a Memorandum of Understanding as CBOs and Hekima to be able to present these finding and recommendations to the policy formulation task force. Secondly, there is no clear framework on how to deal with reformed people (ex-convicts, ex-military, ex- terrorists) thus we can come up with something that will guide and enlighten these committees that the reformed people are an important asset and resources for peace in the country and accommodating them is important in the fight against terrorism and maintaining peace.”
The participants urged that CRTP to consider including technological-induced conflicts such as cyber-terrorism in their research. They recommended need for initiatives such as educating communities and making them aware of technological instigated conflicts. In addition there is need for CRTP to take advantage of technology and most importantly make good use of the youths to enlighten communities about conflicts since they are great users of social media.
Among the most important issues pointed out during the validation exercise included review on methodology, to bring a clear connection between the types of conflicts, actors, drivers and challenges. Further there is also need to use more open ended questions to answer the why questions and get the source of information off the respondents’ answers. It was also highlighted that culture and religion plays a critical role and there is need to consider resolving historical injustices because people are losing their homes e.g. in Korogosho. It was however echoed that religious leaders being at the forefront for advocating peace, have been highly influenced by politics which makes it hard to preach peace.
Finally, a participant suggested that there is need to adopt the theater of the oppressed method of research where one can go to a community and ask them to come up with a skit that illustrates different conflict types and by this, one is able to get a lot of information that helps in resource saving. In addition there is need for the use of talking walls where you can group people according to the tribe, religion, or gender and allow them to write on a chart on what affects them as a group. By this, one is able to do research, have discussions and validate the findings at the same time. This helps to save time and resources thus able to get information from a large number of respondents and group
- Hekima College being an educational institution, they should offer an award to peace practitioners.
- There is need for the next phase of the research to target all counties in the research to get the appropriate information on the conflict level of the country.
- CRTP should use different approaches to research findings dissemination for instance liaising with CBOs and CSOs to voice out the findings so that it can get to a wider community.