The US Ambassador had an opportunity of listening to the members of the community share success stories and challenges witnessed while engaging with law enforcement in Kamukunji. While visiting the Kamukunji Resource Center, the Ambassador received feedback on various programs supported by the US government, including the Community Together Initiative. The area Member of Parliament and a representative from the Office of the President attended the meeting.
“Miscommunication and misinformation serve as the greatest threat to peace and relationship building.”
The Kenyan public and law enforcement have inherent differences that are an obstacle to community policing and
relations. There are efforts to improve the relationship, but most interventions ignore the root causes to existing gaps. The programs that separately work with the civilians and the police service assume the improvement of civilian-police relations but result in an expanded conflict gap.
Kamukunji was prone to violent extremism recruitments, and the initial findings placed the mistrust between the
police and the public, profoundly rooted profiling as catalysts of the process. The youths described how they were
stereotyped by police officers to belong to gangs because of the way they clothed or looked. Consequently, police officers were viewed as brutal and violent because they seemed not to answer to any law.
Community-Together Initiative commissioned by the United States Department and facilitated by Scofield Associates went beyond perceived limitations. The project-initiated pieces of training and other activities, that integrated both the police service and the public without restricting engagements based on perceptions of incompatibility. The police were trained and engaged in extracurricular activities alongside the local community. These processed resulted in the demystification of several stereotypes held by both sides. The Community- Together Initiative platform also brought in the National Counter-Terrorism Center (NCTC). The inputs from NCTC around a civilian-police joint repulsion to such recruitment was useful since it is hinged on collaboration.