Evolution of security system in our society
Like any other entity security in Kenya has evolved with time from traditional security systems to modern security system.
The traditional African society was structured such that there was division of labour, young men being the defenders of the society while women took care of their homes.
In many African societies warriors, normally young men, were responsible of maintenance of security. They protected the society from external aggression.
Elders in the society took the role of being custodians of the society and its culture; that is they oversaw the daily leadership and provided memory of the society.
Division of labour according to age groups and family structures such as clans helped in conducting ceremonies that affirmed oneness of the people hence enhancing security to the society.
Clans also usurped powers to sanction against the offenders who went against the norms of the society.
Religion in traditional African societies also played a critical role in ensuring security is maintained for it was used to cement social relationships.
Religion was a unifying force that held the society with its morality together and anyone who went against it was seen a rebel and heavily punished.
Fear of taboos, curses and their consequences such as death, diseases or other calamities for going against religion kept the community intact and lessened insecurity.
This traditional set up was adversely changed with advent of colonialism, Christianity and introduction of western education
According to Ibrahim Duale, a member of National Committee on Citizen Participation in Security (CPS) while addressing media personnel recently at Naivasha during a workshop observed that initially British colonial government relied on the traditional security set up before imposing their own system.
“Many ethnic communities were led by council of elders however with the advent of colonial powers, the position of paramount chief was created in order to effectively govern the colonies,” Duale pointed out.
According to Duale, with time, British government established its administration in Kenya which was responsible for maintenance of law and order.
The famous provincial administration was an inheritance from colonial government and has been used to run the country until the inauguration of the new constitution where it was restructured to the current system.
Not only has the traditional system of administration been affected but also the security system where warriors were responsible of defending the society.
The traditional security system was replaced by establishment of security agencies such as army and police for maintenance of peace and deterring external threats.
With the current security system in place, the security situation is no better; especially with increased threat of internal and external acts of terrorism.
It is obvious that modernity has adversely affected the traditional set ups which led to cohesion in the society; affecting cohesion of families and social control.
Anomie, a condition where social norms breaks down, has led to breakdown of social bonds in the society.
People are no longer afraid of breaking taboos and going against religious norms leading to condition of instability in families and in our societies at large.
Breakdown of traditional values, lack of religious accountability and high level of unemployment has led to youngsters being lured into illegal groups through indoctrination, radicalization and promise of better tomorrow.
The young men are being used by terror groups to destabilize the society posing a new threat of security which requires new approach to curb it.
According to Alexander Muteshi, National Intelligence Service (NIS) Deputy Director during a recent induction of MPs observed that terrorism threat remains high with targets ranging from churches, malls, schools and public places.
He observed that to succeed in dealing with terror threats the stakeholders must apply a multi-agency approach; where all security agencies are brought on board including citizen involvement.
As our President, Uhuru Kenyatta observed on October 20, 2013 that security is a shared mandate of all people living in Kenya, we must all take personal responsibility in ensuring we are safe.
The security system should be all inclusive; including religious leaders, applying workable traditional methods of security and importantly allowing the ordinary mwananchi to own security.
By Kimani Tirus