Territoriality as a Method for Understanding Armed Groups in Kenya and Strengthening Policy Responses
This policy note explores the characteristics of community-based armed groups (CBAGs) unique to the Kenyan context through a comparison of local CBAGs with other nonstate armed groups, particularly violent extremist organizations (VEOs). In doing so, it introduces the concept of territoriality—the degree to which government and security agents are able to monopolize political, social, and security control of spaces—and suggests that both CBAGs and VEOs are most likely to thrive in Kenya under conditions of semi-territoriality, where state authority sometimes shifts fluidly from strong to weak depending on capacity or interest. To combat the rise of VEOs it recommends community-oriented policing as a devolved security strategy, strengthening the civil societies and police relation through the Police Reforms Working Group Kenya (PRWGK), helping to monitor and evaluate the police service. Additionally, mapping CBAGs and VEOs through clan structures is a community-oriented strategy that helps strengthen territoriality and counter semi-territoriality.
Suggested Citation: Okwany, Clifford Collins Omondi. Territoriality as a Method for Understanding Armed Groups in Kenya and Strengthening Policy Responses. Washington, D.C.: RESOLVE Network, 2023. https://doi.org/10.37805/pn2023.1.lpbi.