Gender Transformation in Cattle Rustling and Its Implications on Security Management in West Pokot County, Kenya
Kimani, Andrew Gitau
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The purpose of this study was to examine gender transformation in cattle rustling and its implications on security management in West Pokot County in Kenya. Insecurity in some sections of Kenya especially the North Rift and North Eastern, has been in the past threatened any meaningful development. Further cattle rustling has metamorphosized from a traditional practice to organized crime where lives are lost and property destroyed; which has negatively impacted people‘s livelihoods and has posed a challenge to security management. The study therefore, sought to establish gender transformation in the practice of cattle rustling and its implication for security management. The study objectives were; to explain the gender transformation in cattle rustling among the Pokot community, to determine the effects of gender relations on cattle rustling among the Pokot community, to assess the effects of transformation in cattle rustling on security management in West Pokot, to evaluate from a gender perspective the strategies put in place to curb cattle rustling in West Pokot County. The study was anchored on Social Cubism Theory and the Harvard analytical framework. The independent variable for the study was gender transformation which included: role of men, gender relations, role of women and changes in identities ; whereas the dependent variable was security management which included: Security apparatus/committees, gender equality in the security composition officers, Law enforcement agencies, disarmament initiatives and reintegration and intervening variables were Kenyan Laws/Penal code ,the two thirds gender rule ,C.o.K (2010) and Mifugo Protocol. The outcome of the variables included: peace, development of infrastructure ,security enhancement, women leadership, high literacy level ,high school transition rate by both boys and girls, alternative and diversified livelihoods. The study involved 350 respondents (210 men and 140 women) selected from adult residents of Pokot community, community elders, opinion leaders, political and administrative leaders, the local youth, women and men as well as local and international NGOs dealing with cattle rustling issues in West Pokot County. Data collection instruments included questionnaires with closed and open-ended questions, key informant interview guide, FGD guide and an observation checklist. Stratified and simple random sampling techniques were used to select men and women who participated in the study. Content and construct validity of research instruments were determined using a pilot study and review of empirical and theoretical literature respectively. The coefficient of internal consistency was used to measure the reliability of the questionnaire. Thematic analysis was used to analyze qualitative data while Descriptive and Inferential statistics were used to analyze quantitative data. The key findings included: cattle rustling was once a cultural activity with structured rules and taboos for both men and women but has now become a murderous criminal endeavor; gender relations have changed over time as a result of cattle rustling; security implications, costs and solutions to cattle rustling do not take into account the impact of gender and hence are ineffective and lastly, some of the strategies applied to curb cattle rustling were fair while a few were considered to be rather extreme. The study concluded that significant changes have taken place in the practice of cattle rustling in West Pokot. Thus, it is no longer a communal practice that ensures the sustenance of the community. Contemporary cattle rustling is a rather radical and disjointed practice that is shunned by both men and women because of its negative consequences. The study recommended that appropriate approaches that involve men and women such as peace talks, enlightenment on contemporary ways of livelihoods to help the Pokot community adopt alternative sources of livelihood. The study also recommends the use of more advanced technologies to enable cattle identification and tracking, sensitization on laws criminalizing cattle rustling and ensuring full-scale prosecution of its actors. Finally, the study gave a suggestion for further studies on cattle jacking as an emerging security concern in the region.