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The research catalogue is an archive of ESRC-funded grants and outputs. Links, files and other content will no longer be maintained or updated after April 2014.

Making Law in rural Kenya

Grant reference: RES-000-22-2973

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Conference paper/presentation details

Making and keeping the peace in Kuria, Kenya
This explored the power dimensions revealed by the development of an innovative vigilante movement (known as the iritongo) in Kuria District, Kenya. Its initial spread and success in suppressing virulent cattle raiding in 1998, revealed a plethora of different interest groups, operating sometimes in conjunction and at other times in opposition to the movement. These varied from local players - Government agents of security (Police and District Administration), politicians and ritual elders to various international actors, such as human rights lobbyists, NGOs and Peace Campaigners. While all these proclaimed their own legitimacy, their interests sometimes effectively fell on the side of the raiders rather than the new system of community justice. When iritongo organisation weakened in two of the four clans, raiding again increased and led to a full-scale war in 2009. This paper compares three modes of peace keeping, each indicative of wider governmental processes, ending with those that followed this war. This presentation outlined the pressures towards raiding and the the various efforts at peace-making between warring clans both before and after the emergence of the iritongo.

Primary contributor

Author Suzette Heald

Additional details

30 May 2012
Embattled spaces : contested orders : conference of the African Studies Association in Germany (VAD)
Cologne, Germany
30 May 2012