Role of Maritime Policies and Strategies in Shaping the Maritime Security Threats in Kenya

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Alfred Mwango Charo

Keywords

Maritime Policies and Strategies, Maritime Security, Security Threats, Kenya

Abstract

The prospects and aspirations in Kenya’s maritime domain are today facing complex and highly dynamic traditional and non-traditional maritime security threats that portend a direct consequence to Kenya’s national security. The threats of terrorism and the upsurge of piracy in the Western Indian Ocean region led to the Kenyan government’s reaction to the maritime asymmetric threats. These reactions became the onset of Kenya’s significant engagement in maritime security issues. The adopted maritime responses were reactive in posture, which engendered the establishment and restructuring of several maritime security organizations and training to deal with the threats manifestation in Kenya’s maritime domain. However, the implementation of these maritime security frameworks and responses continue to face challenges, making them tend to be not so much effective in dealing with the maritime threats in Kenya’s maritime jurisdiction.  This study sought to find out how are maritime policies and strategies shaping the maritime threats in Kenya. Primary data was collected through key informant interviews with academics, maritime security experts and government officials; both retired and serving. Secondary data was also sourced from relevant publications and media reports. The data obtained were analyzed using content and thematic analysis techniques. The study established that the absence of a strategic national security policy and a national maritime security strategy puts the national interests at stake and under consistent threats that engenders reactive responses among the national security agencies. This has also impacted on regional maritime security cooperation resulting in limited coordination towards common maritime interests, hence an enabler to the multifaceted maritime threats and crimes that went on unabated. There is need to identify the gaps in capacity and centre on strengthening local mechanisms in dealing with maritime security by ameliorating the vulnerabilities, which comes by formulating pragmatic policies and strategy that engenders bilateral, regional and multilateral engagement as key in the maritime governance.

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