Governing Security from Below: Community-Led Security Mechanisms in Urban East Africa

Mutuma Ruteere


This article provides an introduction to four studies on local level security governance in the urban areas of four East African countries: Nairobi in Kenya, Kigali in Rwanda, Dar es Salaam in Tanzania and Kampala in Uganda. The studies are principally concerned with community-led, multiactor, and networked governance of security in poor urban neighbourhoods using the analytical framework of nodal governance theory. This framework suggests that the pre-eminent position of the state in security has changed and security is now produced, managed and governed through a network of actors or nodes. In this form of governance, the line between the public and private police and security actors is blurred with each of the actors influencing and shaping each other to produce security outcomes.  The studies in this special issue present four cases of such local level governance of security as way of contributing to better theoretical understanding of security governance as well as policy conversations.


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