Navigating the Transition Tightrope: Challenges Posed by African Union Mission in Somalia Transition on Kenya’s National Security

Authors

  • Cosmas Ekwom Kamais Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology, Kenya
  • Pontian Godfrey Okoth Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology, Kenya https://orcid.org/0000-0001-8369-9029
  • Sussy Namaemba Kimokoti Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology, Kenya

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.51867/ajernet.5.2.32

Keywords:

Al-Shabaab, AMISOM, National Security, Transition

Abstract

This study examined Kenya's national security threats resulting from the withdrawal of the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) from the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM). This was in light of previous Peace Support Operation Transitions (PSO) in Iraq and Afghanistan, where regional instability resulted from troop withdrawals. Therefore, it analysed the impact of PSO experiences on national security, aiming to identify potential threats to the national security of Troop-Contributing Countries (TCC) resulting from PSO involvement. The study was a descriptive survey design, and it adopted a mixed-methods approach. The sample size for the study was 400 respondents and 49 key informants. The survey was informed by functionalist theory and strategic theory. Kenyan border counties are predisposed to the security effects of the KDF transition from AMISOM. The study's findings indicated a complex security landscape; that is, weak Somali security forces, insufficient funding for the transition, a short time frame, and the likelihood of a resurgent Al-Shabaab all present significant threats to Kenya's national security. These issues are exacerbated by increased border security problems, such as smuggling and unresolved territorial conflicts. However, the studies indicated that Kenya could mitigate these risks. Influencing the Security Transition Plan (STP) to prioritise strong border security measures can strengthen Kenya's defences. Strengthening the Jubaland buffer zone and helping Somalia's disarmament, demobilisation, and reintegration (DDR) initiatives can help weaken terrorist organisations. Furthermore, efforts in Kenya's border counties' socioeconomic development can reduce the attraction to extreme ideas. Implementing comprehensive border security measures provides an additional avenue for improving overall security. According to the analysis, AMISOM's transition represents a complicated security tightrope walk for Kenya. To counteract the problem, Kenya must address the highlighted dangers while capitalising on existing opportunities. Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) indicated an F statistic of 139.893 and a p value of 0.000<0.05, implying that the transition of the Kenyan contingent in the African Union mission in Somalia significantly predicts Kenya’s national security. The regression weights model showed that the transition of the Kenyan contingent in the African Union mission in Somalia had a negative and significant influence on Kenya’s national security (β = -0.368, P =.000<.05). Recommendations include actively shaping the STP, strengthening the Jubaland buffer zone, and stationing enough security personnel along the border. Promoting bilateral and multilateral engagement with Somalia is critical for resolving lingering concerns and maintaining regional stability. By taking these steps, Kenya can protect its national security throughout AMISOM's handover.

Author Biographies

Pontian Godfrey Okoth, Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology, Kenya

Prof.  Pontian Godfrey Okoth is Professor of History and International Relations in the Department of Peace and Conflict Studies, Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology, Kakamega, Kenya.  He was born in Tororo, Uganda on December 2nd 1951. He received the B. A (Hons.) degree in History and the Concurrent Diploma in Education from Makerere University in 1978,  the MA in History from the University of Waterloo,  Ontario,  Canada  in 1980 and the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Diplomatic History from the University of California, Los Angeles, in 1987.

Prof. Okoth has held teaching positions at Makerere University, where he rose to become Associate Professor of History in 1991. In 1996, Prof. Okoth was promoted to the rank of Professor of History at Maseno University, Maseno, Kenya, where, in 2003, he delivered his inaugural lecture entitled, “The Dishonest Broker in Africa: A Diplomatic Historian’s Tour of US-African Relations Since 1945.” It was the first inaugural lecture at Maseno University delivered on Wednesday, September 17, 2003. In 2006, Professor Okoth relocated to what later became Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology, Kakamega where he was appointed Professor of History and International Relations at the University’s then Centre for Disaster Management and Humanitarian Assistance. Prof. Okoth was later to join Uganda Martyrs University, East African School of Diplomacy, Governance and International Studies as Professor of History and International Relations. In February 2012, Professor Okoth rejoined Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology as Professor of History and International Relations, Department of Peace and Conflict Studies, Centre for Disaster Management and Humanitarian Assistance. Prof. Okoth is also Part-Time Professor of History in the Department of Social Science Education, History Section, Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology.

Prof. Okoth has also held administrative positions in various Universities. He has been Vice Chancellor, Lugazi University, Kampala, Uganda; Director of the Directorate of Quality Assurance, Uganda Martyrs University; and Head of Department of Diplomacy and International Studies in the East African School of Diplomacy, Governance and International Studies, Uganda Martyrs University. Prof. Okoth has also been Head of Department of History, Makerere University from 1988 to 1994. At Maseno University, Prof. Okoth was the Director, Centre for the Study of Lake Victoria and its Environs, having previously been acting Dean of the Faculty of Arts at Makerere University on numerous occasions. Prof. Okoth was also the Head of Department of Disaster, Intervention and Humanitarian Assistance – Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology.

In addition to authoring and editing numerous internationally reputed books such as US Foreign Policy towards Kenya (Nairobi: Gideon S. Were Press 1992); Africa at the Beginning of the 21st Century (Nairobi: University of Nairobi Press, 2000); Conflict in Contemporary Africa (Nairobi: Jomo Kenyatta Foundation); The  Americas Before and After Columbus (Kampala: USIS, 1992); USA, India,  Africa During and After the Cold War (Nairobi: University of Nairobi Press 2010); Kenya and the Contemporary World Order (Kakamega: MMUST Press, 2010). In all, Prof. Okoth has published over 180 publications, including books, book chapters, and journal articles. Prof. Okoth has over the years presented over one hundred and fifty conference and seminar papers to scholarly forums in various African countries, Europe, Asia and North America. Prof. Okoth has also been editor of several learned journals, including the Internationally Acclaimed Ufahamu, the Trans-African Journal of History and the Journal of Science, Technological, Education and Management, among others. Prof. Okoth is also a member of many learned associations, including the Historical Association of Kenya (where he is a life member), Kenya-American Studies Association, the Association of African Historians (where he is a member of the Executive Committee representing universities of Eastern African Region) and the Association of African International Relations, among others.

Over the years, Prof. Okoth has also been a visiting scholar at institutions of academic excellence such as Nuffield College, University of Oxford; the Brookings Institution in Washington D. C; the American Studies Centre – Hyderabad, India; the American Studies Centre – Salzburg, Austria; the University of Sofia – Bulgaria; University of Hafia – Israel, among others. Prof. Okoth has also received such prestigious awards as the Fulbright Scholarship, the Indian Council for Cultural Relations award and the Carnegie Corporation of New York Research Award, among others.

In 2019, Prof. Okoth was honoured by his global peers in a book entitled, CONTEMPORARY AFRICA AND THE FORESEEABLE WORLD ORDER, London and New York: Lexington Books whose preface was “Accolade to Professor P.G. Okoth: An Icon of International Relations and Diplomatic History”, pg. xiii-xx. Prof. Okoth’s research interests and teaching include Diplomatic History, Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, International Conflict Management, Peace and Conflict Studies.

Prof. Okoth is married with four children and has been external examiner in numerous African universities, including University of Dares Salaam, University of Nairobi, Kenyatta University, Moi University, Jaramogi Oginga Odinga University of Science & Technology, Rhodes University in South Africa, Maseno University, among others.  Prof. Okoth has also supervised, to completion, eighty (80) graduate candidates at the Masters and PhD levels. Prof. Okoth is one of the two East African diplomatic historians who pioneered by specializing in the diplomatic history pertaining to US-African relations. In 2018, Prof. Okoth together with Prof. F. K. Matanga and Prof. K. Onkware edited a book entitled, PEACE, SECURITY AND DEVELOPMENT IN 21ST CENTURY AFRICA: THEORY AND PRACTICE that was published by Finesse Publishing Limited in Nairobi, that is currently and widely used by university students all over Africa, especially those in graduate studies. Prof. Okoth is currently editing what will be a University-level textbook on “Research Methodology in History: Discourse on Historical Knowledge Industry.”

Sussy Namaemba Kimokoti, Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology, Kenya

Dr. Kimokoti holds a doctorate degree in Diplomacy and International Relations. Her areas of academic and research interest are in the fields of diplomacy, peace studies, resource-use conflict management, disaster management and International Relations. She currently serves as the coordinator, MMUST- Nairobi Campus.

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Published

2024-05-11

How to Cite

Kamais, C. E., Okoth, P. G., & Kimokoti, S. N. (2024). Navigating the Transition Tightrope: Challenges Posed by African Union Mission in Somalia Transition on Kenya’s National Security. African Journal of Empirical Research, 5(2), 371–387. https://doi.org/10.51867/ajernet.5.2.32