Human Development as a Pathway to Transformed and Peaceful Societies Trends from Kenya's Ungoverned Spaces

This paper deals with human development as an inclusive pathway to peace in Kenya, which is considered within the context of state capacity as well as the choices available to individuals. In many nations, peace and security are a function of sound human-development interventions, and the success of such interventions is directly linked to state capacity. When states have inadequate capacity, the implementation of human development is compromised, creating security challenges for populations, which are left vulnerable to human-security threats. Thus, understanding threats to human security is linked both to state capacity and an inclusive approach to development. This nexus between inclusive development and peace is more relevant than ever in Kenya as ethnic tensions, urban violence, violent extremism and COVID-19 continue to affect those living on the fringes of economic inclusion. The following are the findings of the present study: The state administration is ultimately run by political leaders and it is difficult to divorce it from ‘state machinations’. There are, however, ‘strong movements to professionalise and operate a meritocracy rather than appointments made through political affiliation’. The acerbic Kenyan ‘political culture’ that divides Kenyans along ethnic lines has not been entirely ‘rooted out of the state’. There are noticeable attempted moves towards ‘constitutionalism’, service delivery, and policy implementation. Politics in Kenya is about allocation of resources to the self and to associates, especially ethnic-based business associates. Devolution is working in Kenya; thus, it should be supported. Devolved governments are showing some impressive development patterns. Nevertheless, new patterns of devolved violence because of urban-to-rural migration increased the potential for the dispersion of election related violence in 2022. Meanwhile, the government is investing in infrastructure that is not benefiting communities. This is a phenomenon that is escalating tensions between pastoralists and the state. As a result, marginalised communities continue to be negatively impacted by government marginalisation. Consequently, groups are forced to find ways to generate their own resources in order to survive. The result is community conflict. In addition, women remain vulnerable to economic and climate related shocks. These issues, together with a lack of inclusion in decision-making, are hindering development in the regions under examination. The findings of the study are based on a literature review of human development interventions in Kenya. The reviewed literature is in the form of refereed journal articles, books, reports, and various data sets. The findings are also based on a corroborated focus-group discussion.