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The meaning of security and the conduct of security agencies have been part of the struggles for democratisation in Kenya since the formation of the Kenyan State. In his article “Security and human rights in the new constitutional order in Kenya”, Mutuma Ruteere recalls that security has since independence been the justification for violations of human rights in Kenya and security organs in post-independence Kenya, as in colonial Kenya, have largely been at the service of the government of the day and in particular the small ruling elite. The article argues that the post-2010 constitutional order, with its strong focus on human rights, values and principles, provides the basis for rethinking the governing of security and reconfiguring security agencies. To fully understand how the values of rights have shaped security under the new constitutional order, an examination of the constitution in its entirety is necessary because security concerns are scattered in various chapters.

The article contends that a security reform agenda in keeping with the human rights vision of the constitution calls for the reconceptualisation of security as the security of the people rather than the security of the ruling elite. The test for evaluating whether reforms have kept faith with the vision and spirit of the constitution is whether the activities and decisions of the security agencies, as well as those of the political leadership, contribute to providing security for the majority of poor and ordinary Kenyans.

Ruteere, M. (2014) ‘Security and human rights in the new constitutional order in Kenya’. In G.Murunga, D. Okello and A. Sjogren (eds) Kenya: The struggle for a new constitutional order. London, UK: Zed Books, pp 163-179.

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