School of Social and Political Science

Kamau Wairuri

Job Title

PhD title: Politics of Police Accountability in Kenya

Photo of Kamau

City (Address)


Country (Address)

United Kingdom

Research interests

Research interests

Political violence, African studies, African Politics, Urban margins, urban poor, Law and Social Order, Police Accountability, Sex Workers, Police and Policing, marginalisation, Drug users, LGBTQ+, Kenyan Politics, East Africa, Informal settlements, Youth Empowerment in Africa, Police brutality, Criminal Justice


My PhD examines the pursuit of accountability by victims of police brutality in Kenya's urban margins. By focusing on the perspective of the victims, the study problematises the current approaches that are focussed on career-based and legal sanctions against police officers as the appropriate remedy for police brutality. The study is situated in informal settlements in the three major Kenyan cities of Nairobi, Mombasa and Kisumu.

The study is based on fieldwork conducted with people who have been victimised by the Kenyan state police because of where they live, the work they do, their sexual and gender identity or how they express themselves politically. As such, the subjects of my research are poor young men, sex workers, children, LGBTQ+ persons, drug users and political protestors.


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


16.09.2020: Guest Lecturer. 'The Good Governance Agenda and Corruption in Kenya' for the Law, Governance and Development Course (Undergraduate), Strathmore Law School, Strathmore University, Nairobi, Kenya.

23.01.2020. Guest Lecturer. 'Conducting Sensitive Research' for the Research in Africa Course (Masters), Centre of African Studies, University of Edinburgh

Flipped Lecture. Police Accountability. Policing and Punishment Course (Masters). Centre of African Studies & Edinburgh School of Law, University of Edinburgh.

Course Tutoring

Sep - Nov 2020. Course Tutor, International Development, Aid and Humanitarianism, (pre-honours) Undergraduate course, Centre of African Studies. University of Edinburgh. Moderating discussion boards for 10 weeks and running 4 live tutorial sessions with 3 groups (45 students).

Sep - Nov 2020. Course Tutor, Global Development Challenges, Masters Course, Centre of African Studies. University of Edinburgh. Moderating discussion boards for 10 weeks, for 2 groups (40 students).

Jan - Mar 2020. Course Tutor, Africa in the Contemporary World, (pre-honours) Undergraduate course, Centre of African Studies. University of Edinburgh. Delivering 10 face-to-face seminars over 10 weeks.

Sep - Nov 2019. Course Tutor, Global Development Challenges, Masters Course, Centre of African Studies. University of Edinburgh. Moderating discussion boards for 10 weeks, for 2 groups (40 students).


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 Institute of Eastern Africa

African Studies Association (UK)

Development Studies Association