Youth (in)security: lessons from Kenya

SOURCE: HSRC Review
OUTPUT TYPE: Journal Article
PUBLICATION YEAR: 2010
TITLE AUTHOR(S): P.Wamucii
KEYWORDS: ELECTIONS, KENYA, POLITICAL CHANGE, SECURITY, YOUTH
DEPARTMENT: Democracy, Governance and Service Delivery (DGSD)
Web link: http://www.hsrc.ac.za/en/review/August-2010/youth-insecurities
Intranet: HSRC Library: shelf number 6477

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Abstract

Kenya's post-election crisis manifested itself in one of the worst political turmoils experienced in the country since independence, opening up wounds of historical injustices, inequalities in society, and issues related to ethnic identity. But the central role young people played in the ensuing chaos should hold valuable lessons for South Africa, writes PRISCILLA WAMUCII. After the political settlement which led to the establishment of a government of national unity, two major standpoints emerged pertaining to youth involvement in the violence. The first, premised on the idea that the youth were young men and women exercising their democratic rights, advocated for a blanket amnesty. A historical analysis indicates that the violence exhibited by the youth could be attributed to deteriorating socioeconomic developments in the country. The second perspective argued that implicated youth should face prosecution if found guilty by local courts. While these issues are yet to be addressed, the Kenyan experience might be an instructive case study for South Africa as the country continues to struggle with high levels of youth unemployment in a highly unequal society.