Anthony M. Wanjohi:
Crime rate in Kenya has highly increased over the years causing businesses failures and other progresses made by the country. The specific measures that could be taken to address the specific causes of crime like poverty, unemployment among youth, substance abuse, peer pressure dysfunctional family units among other causes include the following: Traditional and Contemporary Approaches, Restorative Justice, Holistic and Consensus-based Approach, The ‘We’ Group and ‘Us’ Approach.
Traditional and Contemporary Approaches of Solving Disputes
This section of the paper briefly explores traditional and contemporary approaches of solving disputes in communities. The first part presents the traditional approaches while the second part describes some contemporary approaches. The last part provides a brief contrast of the two forms of approaches.
Traditional Approaches of Solving Disputes
Traditional approaches vary considerably from society to society, from region to region, from community to community. There are as many different traditional approaches to conflict management as there are different societies and communities with a specific history, a specific culture and specific customs There is no one single general concept of traditional conflict management. However, this papers briefly describes some of the traditional approaches that have been used by African communities in solving disputes.
From a traditional point of view, conflict is perceived as an unwelcome disturbance of the relationships within the community (Faure 2000).Hence traditional conflict management aims at the restoration of order and harmony of the community. Cooperation between conflict parties in the future has to be guaranteed. Traditional conflict management is thus geared towards the future. Consequently, the issue at stake is not punishment of perpetrators for deeds done in the past, but restitution as a basis for reconciliation. Reconciliation is necessary for the restoration of social harmony of the community in general and of social relationships between conflict parties in particular. The aim is “not to punish an action which would be viewed as harming the group a second time. Re-establishing harmony implies reintegrating the deviant members … The ultimate matter is …restoring good relations (Faure 2000,163).
Holistic and Consensus-based Approach
This approach is based on the notion that reconciliation and restoration of harmony and relationships can only be built on a common understanding of what went wrong in the past. Therefore conflict parties have to negotiate a consensus regarding the interpretation of the past. This is an often very lengthy endeavour. Facts have to be established and the truth has to be revealed. Only once a consensus about the facts and the truth has been achieved, perpetrators can confess their wrongdoings, apologise and ask for forgiveness and victims can accept the apologies and forgive. Often such processes lead to the exchange of material goods as compensation, be it “blood money ”or other gifts; depending on the cultural context these might be cattle, goats, pigs, garden produce or other forms of compensations (Zartman 2000).
The ‘We’ Group and ‘Us’ Approach
This approach revolves around members of the same community. The approach is used resolve conflicts within and between families, between neighbours, within and between villages or clans. Conflicts among the members of the “we-group ”of the community can be addressed and solved by customary ways. We approach is limited in scope as it fails embrace ‘’us’. Conflicts between ‘us’ adhere to another law, be it another customary law or formal statutory law. In order to make traditional approaches applicable beyond the confines of ‘We’ the conflict constellation has to be re-framed. The We-group has to be re-constructed in ways that allow for the inclusion of what used to be outsiders and adversaries (Boege, 2006).
This article has highlighted various approaches to curb crimes in Kenya. These include: Traditional and Contemporary Approaches, Restorative Justice, Holistic and Consensus-based Approach and The ‘We’ Group and ‘Us’ Approach. However, there are various other important ways to aid in curbing of crimes in Kenya. For instance, Nyumba Kumi initiative is currently under process of implementation. This is community approach, participation and involvement towards curbing crime. There is need for everyone to participate or take part in crime reduction both at community and national level. Security surveillance is everyone’s responsibility. Security starts with you and me.
Boege, V. (2006). Traditional Approaches to Conflict Transformation. Germany: ResearchCenter for Constructive Conflict Management. Available at: http://www.berghof-handbook.net
Faure,G. O. (2000).Traditional Conflict Management in Africa and China,
Zartman, I. William 2000a. Introduction: African Traditional Conflict ‘Medicine’, in: I. William Zartman
(ed.). Traditional Cures for Modern Conflicts. African Conflict “Medicine”. Boulder,