Guns and Governance in the Rift Valley

Guns and Governance in the Rift Valley

Pastoralist Conflict and Small Arms
Kennedy Agade Mkutu
Distribution: North America and Japan
Publication date: 4/21/2008
Format: paper 200 pages, 8 b&w photos, 29 figures, 10 maps
5.5 x 8.25
ISBN: 978-0-253-22009-7
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Recent estimates indicate that more than 640 million small arms and 16 billion rounds of ammunition circulate the globe yearly. In North East Africa and the Rift Valley, the flow of arms has been particularly heavy and has led to the escalation of banditry, cattle rustling, raiding, and ethnic conflict. The impact small arms have on the area, according to Kennedy Agade Mkutu, is a symptom of the failure of states to govern and of superficial programs that focus simply on disarmament. In this hard-hitting book, Mkutu brings together all the issues affecting the arms trade, from the regulation of international arms sales to regional efforts to improve security, community involvement, and economic development. He cites cultural changes to the legacy of pastoral violence in the region as key ingredients in stemming the disastrous spread of small arms.

Author Bio

Kennedy Agade Mkutu lectures at the Kenya Institute of Administration and has been a consultant on small arms and pastoral conflict for many international agencies.


"A path-breaking examination of a highly important and hitherto largely neglected topic." —Mark Leopold, University of Sussex

"A systematic overview of the effect of small arms on pastoralism and governance in Karamoja and Samburu/Laikipia/Turkana." —Philip Winter, Rift Valley Institute

". . . stimulating. . . a fascinating empirical analysis of the dysfunctional nature of modernization." —
Foreign Affairs , March/April 2009

"Mkutu's valuable study demonstrates what happens when the institutions and security apparatus of government are too weak, disinterested, or corrupt to exert their authority to keep peace, and a Hobbesian state of nature dominated by armed militias take over. As such, Mkutu's book is profoundly disturbing and illuminating." —Susanne D. Mueller, Harvard University,
Intnl Jrnl African Historical Studies , Vol. 42.1 2009

"Without doubt the author has succeeded in making a valuable contribution toward understanding the nature of pastoral life in the Rift Valley. He must be commended for addressing vexing issues and for the risk he endured in conducting the research. Like the author's other publications, this book will be extremely useful to policymakers, researchers, and NGOs working on SALW." —
African Studies Review , Vol. 54.1 2011

"[T]hose studying social change in Africa will find
Guns and Governance of great use. Of special note are the changes in tribal administration and interaction brought about by colonialism and national independence, how theses changes have influenced the flood of small arms, and how this flood has changed the cultural landscape of the Rift Valley." —African Studies Quarterly

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Table of Contents

Maps and Photographs
Tables and Figures
Acronyms and Abbreviations
1. Introduction
2. Pastoralism: Conflict, Change, and Governance
3. The Proliferation of Small Arms and Light Weapons
4. The Impact of Small Arms and Light Weapons
5. State Interventions in Pastoral Conflict
6. Conclusions