Africa: New report raises concerns about the pace of reform and possible implications for security in Kenya

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Africa: New report raises concerns about the pace of reform and possible implications for security in Kenya

The latest report from Think Security Africa (TSA) National Security Profile on the Republic of Kenya, raises concerns about the pace of reform in Kenya, and the need to ensure that existing security challenges do not negatively interact with changes in Kenya’s new political and budgetary arrangements – intended to improve long-term security in Kenya.

The importance of security in Kenya for regional development makes security in Kenya a regional concern. Kenya plays a key role for sub-regional trade and logistics, and this role is set to expand with the inception of Lamu Port and Southern Sudan – Ethiopia Transport Corridor (LAPSSET).

Key findings from the report:

National and regional economic development

Current infrastructure development plans provide a unique historical opportunity to align the interests of domestic and regional constituencies and may be instrumentalised to improve (a) motivation within the security forces, and (b) relations between security forces and communities in key security and development zones.

Impact of political reforms on existing security concerns

Devolution from 8 provinces to 47 counties is intended to bring governance closer to the people. However, it also makes it more feasible for the current spate of terrorist attacks (and radicalization within Kenya) to evolve into an insurgency – as there are now almost eight times as many governmental targets to attack. There is a need to take pre-emptive counter-insurgency actions in the eight counties currently impacted by terrorist-related violence, and potentially others such as Kitui.

Devolving the national budget and large scale investment

Enclaves of relative affluence within otherwise impoverished communities (in places such as Dadaab) have enabled the spread of harmful ideas and actors into Kenya from neighbouring countries. It is important to learn the lessons from this in plans to devolve a significant portion of the national budget or make large investments in counties, which have been historically marginalized and conflict prone. Strong national oversight is required to prevent these investments and budgetary allocations from fuelling conflict and other forms of insecurity.

The latest report from Think Security Africa (TSA) National Security Profile on the Republic of Kenya, raises concerns about the pace of reform in Kenya, and the need to ensure that existing security challenges do not negatively interact with changes in Kenya’s new political and budgetary arrangements – intended to improve long-term security in Kenya.

The importance of security in Kenya for regional development makes security in Kenya a regional concern. Kenya plays a key role for sub-regional trade and logistics, and this role is set to expand with the inception of Lamu Port and Southern Sudan – Ethiopia Transport Corridor (LAPSSET).

 

Key findings from the report:

National and regional economic development

Current infrastructure development plans provide a unique historical opportunity to align the interests of domestic and regional constituencies and may be instrumentalised to improve (a) motivation within the security forces, and (b) relations between security forces and communities in key security and development zones.

Impact of political reforms on existing security concerns

Devolution from 8 provinces to 47 counties is intended to bring governance closer to the people. However, it also makes it more feasible for the current spate of terrorist attacks (and radicalization within Kenya) to evolve into an insurgency – as there are now almost eight times as many governmental targets to attack. There is a need to take pre-emptive counter-insurgency actions in the eight counties currently impacted by terrorist-related violence, and potentially others such as Kitui.

Devolving the national budget and large scale investment

Enclaves of relative affluence within otherwise impoverished communities (in places such as Dadaab) have enabled the spread of harmful ideas and actors into Kenya from neighbouring countries. It is important to learn the lessons from this in plans to devolve a significant portion of the national budget or make large investments in counties, which have been historically marginalized and conflict prone. Strong national oversight is required to prevent these investments and budgetary allocations from fuelling conflict and other forms of insecurity.

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