Congestion, conflicts and urban politics; Understanding the 2017 post-election violence in Nairobi slums
Keywords:identity politics, politics, post-colony, violence
This article examines the violence that marred the 2017 General elections. Within the post-colonial theoretical context, the article explores the more localized narratives that drive violent skirmishes with specific reference to Nairobi’s sub-spaces, such as the Kawangware slum. Further, the article seeks to explain why the sub-space is vulnerable to violent skirmishes (often ethnic) that accompany divisive elections and the implications of these conflicts for the future of urban politics in Nairobi’s post-colonial space. The overall survey approach and delivery process of this article drew heavily on goodwill data and information from various respondents, majorly slum dwellers, who were randomly sampled. The questionnaires were designed to capture qualitative data on aspects of identity politics, people’s political attitudes and perceptions that drive them to engage in violence before, during and even after elections. In analysing the causes of violence during the electioneering period, it was concluded that political maturity is measured by the degree of public participation and, to be precise, their engagement in political processes. On the other hand, Nairobi’s post-colonial space is plagued with a myriad of challenges, key among them poverty, unemployment and crime. This has precipitated identity politics as a blueprint for preferred politicians, thus making the electoral process a protracted one, exacerbating political uncertainty and endless unrests characterized by violence. This study recommends that urban violence be examined in view of the interactional effects between emerging issues and the existing power holders and governmental agents representing them.