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Centre of African Studies: People


Kamau Wairuri

Kamau Wairuri
Kamau Wairuri
Edinburgh United Kingdom
Research Interests
African security, Political violence, African studies, African Politics, Kenyan Politics, Urban margins, urban poor, Law and Social Order, Police Accountability, LGBTI, Sex Workers, Police and Policing, marginalization, Drug users, Police violence

My research examines the pursuit of police accountability for violent encounters between the state police and citizens at Kenya's urban margins. The study aims to problematize the current approaches by the state and human rights organisations that presume that citizens have equal access to justice and accountability mechanisms and have therefore focussed on prosecution and career-based sanctions as remedies for police brutality. 

The study is situated in informal settlements in the three major Kenyan cities of Nairobi, Mombasa and Kisumu exploring the pursuit of police accountability by individuals who are targeted by the police because of where they live, the work they do, their sexual and gender identity or how they express themselves politically. 


2017 – To Date: PhD (African Studies), University of Edinburgh

2014 – 2015:        MSc African Studies, University of Oxford

2006 – 2009:       Bachelor of Arts, University of Nairobi [Kenya]


Teaching Experience:

"The Politics of Policy Making in Kenya." Strathmore Institute of Public Policy and Governance (SIPPG). Strathmore University, Kenya.


Wairuri, Kamau (2018). ‘Operation Sanitize Eastleigh’: Police Practice and citizenship in the age of terror. Nairobi:  Centre for Human Rights and Policy Studies.

Wairuri, Kamau (2017). Riding the crest of the wave? The 2017 election and stagnation of Kenya’s democratization process. Note analyse. L’Observatoire de l’Afrique de l’Est & SciencesPo, Centre for International Research.

Conference Presentations

'Re-Centering the Encounter: Rethinking the search for explanations for police violence in Nairobi' at the CHRIPS, IFRA & Mathare Social Justice Centre Conference on Police Violence, State Transformation and Mobilisations Comparative Perspectives from Kenya & France Conference,  23/24 Jan 2018, Nairobi.            

'Elite alliances: The 2017 election in Kenya's democratisation process’ at the Centre for Governance & Human Rights Seminar titled 'What's next for Kenya?', 8 November 2017, University of Cambridge. 

'The making of a democracy: Elite fragmentation, electoral fraud and electoral violence in Kenya 2017s elections', Afrique De L’est: Surprenantes Élections Dans Un Environnement Troublé  Conference,19th October 2017, SciencesPo.

Grants & Awards

2019: Security at the Margins Project, University of Edinburgh & University of Witwatersrand [South Africa], Pilot project funding

2017: Leverhulme Trust, University of Edinburgh, Perfect Storms Scholarship: Full doctoral research grant.

2015: Antonian Fund Grant, St.Antony’s College, University of Oxford for MSc Research Fieldwork

2015: IFRA Fieldwork Research Grant, for MSc Research Fieldwork

2014: Waverley/ OCSK Scholarship for full MSc study at St Antony’s College, University of Oxford


British Insititute of Eastern Africa