Last Updated: Monday, 30 May 2016, 14:07 GMT

Kenya: Treatment of Kikuyu in Nairobi (2005 - October 2007)

Publisher Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada
Author Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Ottawa
Publication Date 2 November 2007
Citation / Document Symbol KEN102638.E
Cite as Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Kenya: Treatment of Kikuyu in Nairobi (2005 - October 2007), 2 November 2007, KEN102638.E, available at: [accessed 30 May 2016]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

The Kikuyu [also spelled Gikuyu ( n.d.)] are Kenya's largest ethnic group (Reuters 8 Oct. 2007a; US June 2007, 7), representing approximately 22 percent of the country's total population (ibid.; US 18 Oct. 2007). About 40 other ethnic groups make up the remainder of the population (ibid. June 2007, 7; Mail & Guardian Online 2 Dec. 2005). Kenya's Central Province is said to be Kikuyu-dominated (ibid.; see also n.d.).

Although the Kikuyu were traditionally involved in agriculture, many reportedly now own businesses and have moved to the cities ( n.d.). According to a 26 October 2007 Agence France-Presse (AFP) article, the Kikuyu are an economically dominant tribe in Kenya.

The Kikuyu are also reported to be politically active ( n.d.). Kenya's president, Mwai Kibaki, is of Kikuyu ethnicity (Reuters 8 Oct. 2007a; ibid. 8 Oct. 2007b; AFP 26 Oct. 2007).

The country's next presidential elections are expected to be held in December 2007 (ibid.; Reuters 7 Oct. 2007). The leader of the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM), who is of western Kenya's Luo ethnicity (ibid. 8 Oct. 2007b; AFP 26 Oct. 2007), is reportedly trying to build support in the country by capitalizing on "a widespread perception that Kikuyus have been favoured under Kibaki" (Reuters 7 Oct. 2007; Mail & Guardian Online 2 Dec. 2005).

In 2007, there were reports of the Kenyan police cracking down on the Mungiki sect, a criminal group that draws the majority of its members from the Kikuyu ethnic group (Reuters 25 Oct. 2007; ibid. 6 July 2007; AP 12 July 2007). According to a 12 July 2007 Associated Press (AP) article, Nairobi residents have claimed that the police have "indiscriminately rounded up people, demolished their homes and beat them" (see also UN 7 June 2007). It is reportedly difficult for the police to identify members of the sect (UN 7 June 2007). The Kenyan National Commission on Human Rights has criticized the police for their actions (Reuters 25 Oct. 2007; ibid. 6 July 2007; AP 12 July 2007), accusing them of being responsible for the deaths of more than 450 suspected Mungiki followers between June and October 2007 (Reuters 25 Oct. 2007). Information on the number of non-Mungiki Kikuyu who have been killed in the crackdown could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate. Further information on the treatment of Kikuyu in Nairobi could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate.

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim for refugee protection. Please find below the list of additional sources consulted in researching this Information Request.

References n.d. "Tribes & People Groups: Kikuyu (otherwise spelled Gikuyu)." [Accessed 26 Oct. 2007]

Agence France-Presse (AFP). 26 October 2007. "Tight Kenya Election Race Set for December 27." (Factiva)

Associated Press (AP). 12 July 2007. Elizabeth A. Kennedy. "Human Rights Group Investigates Kenyan Police Crackdown on Banned Sect." (Factiva)

Mail & Guardian Online [South Africa]. 2 December 2005. Godfrey Chesang. "Kibaki on a Slippery Slide." (Factiva)

Reuters. 25 October 2007. Duncan Miriri. "Hundreds Die in Kenya Gang Crackdown – Rights Group." (Factiva)
_____. 8 October 2007a. "Factbox: Key Facts about Kenyan President Kibaki." (Factiva)
_____. 8 October 2007b. Andrew Cawthorne. "Analysis: Opposition Surge Heats Up Kenya Campaign." (Factiva)
_____. 7 October 2007. Andrew Cawthorne. "Kenya Opposition Leader Holds Election Poll Lead." (Factiva)
_____. 6 July 2007. Helen Nyambura-Mwaura. "Rights Groups Condemn Kenya Police Killings." (Factiva)

United Nations (UN). 7 June 2007. Integrated Regional Information Networks (IRIN). "Kenya: Security Crisis in Slum As Sect and Police Clash." [Accessed 25 Oct. 2007]

United States (US). 18 October 2007. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). "Kenya." The World Factbook. [Accessed 26 Oct. 2007]
_____. June 2007. Library of Congress. "Country Profile: Kenya." [Accessed 26 Oct. 2007]

Additional Sources Consulted

Internet sites, including: Amnesty International (AI), British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), European Country of Origin Information Network (, Freedom House, Human Rights Watch (HRW), Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC), Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC), ReliefWeb, Safer Access, United Kingdom Home Office, United States Department of State.

Copyright notice: This document is published with the permission of the copyright holder and producer Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB). The original version of this document may be found on the offical website of the IRB at Documents earlier than 2003 may be found only on Refworld.

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