Origin and Growth Of Militia Movements: The Case of Sungusungu among the Abagusii of Kisii And Nyamira, Counties,Kenya, 1982-2015
Nyaribo, Wyclife Samuel
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This study focuses on the evolution and growth of the Sungusungu movement among the Abagusii in the period 1982-2015. It examines the origin and growth of Sungusungu movement in response to various challenges, including lack of security, poverty and economic challenges. The study was undertaken to investigate reasons for its continued existence even after being banned many times by the state and accused of being a serious communal terror group by both local and international human rights agencies. The study was guided by three objectives: trace the emergence of Sungusungu movement among the Abagusii, explore how the actors, goals and operations of Sungusungu have changed overtime and finally examined the role of Sungusungu in crime prevention in the community. This study made use of social movement theory of Neil Smelser (1962), mass society and relative deprivation theory of Kornhauser (1959), and rational action theory of Mill (1950). The target population for the study was men and women aged 18 years and above in both Kisii and Nyamira Counties. Respondents were selected through purposeful sampling. Data collection was done through use of questionnaires, focus group discussion and interviews. The study therefore, found out that although the issue of security provision is the duty of the modern state, there is need of complimentary by the civil society who is the consumer. Increase of criminal activities due to lack of state security leads to coming up of non-state security actors. Second, that lack of proper and recognized Sungusungu membership has made it possible for the group members to infiltrate government security policies in the area like Community Policing and the ‘Nyumba Kumi’. Finally, the study established that the group receives a lot of support in the areas that it has managed to reduce criminal activities. This study was important as it sought to enhance the scholarly lacuna that exists particularly on the available vigilante groups among the Abagusii as most of the active groups in the area seem not to be included in many scholarly works and reports. The study will also contribute a lot to both the National and County governments’ policy makers to lay strategies on how to improve security and incorporate public participation on matters of security.