African Union Mission in Somalia Considerations for Transition and Kenya’s National Security


  • Cosmas Ekwom Kamais Masinde Muliro University of Science & Technology, Kenya
  • Pontian Godfrey Okoth Masinde Muliro University of Science & Technology, Kenya
  • Sussy Namaemba Kimokoti Masinde Muliro University of Science & Technology, Kenya



AMISOM, Capacity Building, Peace Support Operations, Security Sector Reforms, Stability


This study assessed the implications of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) on Kenya's national security within the context of AMISOM's transition to the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS). The objective of the study was analyse achievement of African Union Mission in Somalia mandates, to examine the effects to Kenya's National security and assess transition strategies of national security. The study was guided by Functionalist, Strategic and Securitisation theories. The research employed a mixed-methods research design using questionnaire surveys and interviews with respondents in Kenya's border counties most affected by Somali instability. Study findings established that, while a majority (52%) believe AMISOM has achieved its mandate to a moderate extent, concerns remain regarding the capacity of Somali Security Forces (SSF) and the overall stability of Somalia. In addition, study findings established that while progress has been made in degrading Al-Shabaab and supporting the Somali Federal Government (FGS). However, only a third of respondents believe the SSF has been adequately mentored by AMISOM. Despite success in facilitating humanitarian assistance and Civil-Military Cooperation (CIMIC) projects, nearly two-thirds believe Somalia lacks the conditions necessary for long-term stability. The study concludes that AMISOM's transition strategy inadequately addresses governance and security aspects essential for Kenyan security. Weak SSF and FGS capacity pose a threat of failed stabilization after AMISOM's withdrawal. Additionally, Kenya's current border security measures are insufficient to manage potential spill over effects. ANOVA indicated an F statistic of 134.318 and a p value of 0.000<0.05 thus the Somalia PSO strategies significantly predict Kenya’s National Security. Regressions weight model (β = -0.451, P = .000<.05) implied that Nature of Somalia PSO strategies negatively influences Kenya’s National Security. The study recommends a revision of the AMISOM transition strategy to include capacity building for FGS and SSF, including forces in federal member states like Jubaland; allocation of sufficient time for a well-monitored transition with clear benchmarks; an exploration cautious negotiations with Al-Shabaab, contingent on a strong FGS and a hybrid AU-UN peacekeeping mission to succeed ATMIS to ensure Kenya's long-term security.

Author Biographies

Pontian Godfrey Okoth, Masinde Muliro University of Science & 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 & 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


Angell, E. D. (2015). The Vietnam War: US military failure to adapt. Toronto, Canada: RAND.

Bass, B., & Zimmerman, K. (2013). Challenges to America's counterterrorism strategy in Somalia. Retrieved May 16, 2022, from

Blyth, F. (2019). Transitioning to national forces in Somalia: More than an exit for AMISOM. New York: International Peace Institute.

Braun III, W. G., & Allen, C. D. (2014). Shaping a 21st-Century defense strategy: Reconciling military roles. Joint Force Quarterly, 73(2), 52-59. Retrieved May 14, 2022, from

Buzan, B., Wæver, O., & de Wilde, J. (1998). Security: A new framework for analysis. Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner. DOI:

Clark, S. (2006). Exit Strategy: The nexus of policy and strategy. Weatherhead Center for International Affairs. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University.

Crocker, R. (2021). Afghanistan 2001-2021: U.S. policy lessons learned. Retrieved April 03, 2022, from

Dessu, M. K. (2022). Is the AU mission in Somalia changing in name only? Retrieved May 10, 2022, from

Dormandy, X. (2007). Afghanistan's proxy war. Retrieved May 06, 2022, from

Eroukhmanoff, C. (2018). Securitization theory: An introduction. E-International Relations Students. Available at: Accessed on 15th December, 2021

Gompert, D. C., Binnendijk, H., & Lin, B. (2014). The Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, 1979. In In Blinders, Blunders, and Wars: What America and China Can Learn (pp. 129-138). RAND Corporation. Retrieved April 03, 2022, from

Imbiakha, C. O., Okoth, P. G., & Were, E. M. (2021). Evaluating the challenges and opportunities of the use of military diplomacy in intrastate conflict management in the Horn of Africa. International Journal of Scientific Research Management (IJSRM), 9(3), 2321-3418. DOI:

Jackson, A., & Amiri, R. (2021). Taliban narratives on Al Qaeda in Afghanistan Working Paper. London: Centre for the Study of Armed Groups. Retrieved May 06, 2022, from (

Jonegård, I. G. (2019). The implications of a US withdrawal from Afghanistan: Four scenarios. Stockholm: Swedish Defence Research Institute.

Kagwanja, P., Mutuku, S. J., Njuguna, P., Gitogo, N., Saman, A., Imbiakha, C., ... Mugoro, D. (Eds.). (2020). War for Peace: Kenya's Military in the African Mission in Somalia, 2012 - 2020. Nairobi: Kenya Defence Forces.

Kanat, K. B. (2019). The US exit strategy from Iraq to Syria. Retrieved May 07, 2022, from

Kibusia, J. K. (2020). Contribution of Multiagency Approach to Security in the Fight Against Terrorism in Kenya: Case of Disciplined Force. Nairobi: University of Nairobi.

Kumar, R. (2014). Research Methodology. A step-by-step Guide for Beginners (4th Ed.). London: Sage Publishers.

Levin, J. (2021). Functionalism. In E. N. Zalta (Ed.), The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Stanford. Retrieved July 08, 2022, from <>.

Ligawa, W. O. (2018). AMISOM's influence towards peace building in Somalia. Ph.D. Thesis in Peace and Conflict Studies. Kakamega: Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology. Print.

Ligawa, W. O., Okoth, P. G., & Matanga, F. K. (2017). Nature of AU Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) in relation to peace building strategies in Somalia. Open Access Library Journal, 1-12. DOI:

Mowat, J. G. (2015). Towards new conceptualization of marginalization. European Educational Research Journal, 14(5), 457-476. DOI:

Nzau, M. (2018). Armed intervention in Somalia and restoration of socio-political stability: The case of AMISOM. In P. G. Okoth, F. K. Matanga, & K. Onkware (Eds.), Peace, security and development in 21st Century Africa: Theory and Practice (pp. 541-568). Nairobi: Finnese Publishing Ltd. Print.

Okoth, P. (2003). The dishonest broker in Africa : A diplomatic historian's tour of U.S.- African relations since 1945. Maseno: Institute of Research and Postgraduate Studies Maseno University.

Oluoch, K. (2018). African Union military intervention in Somalia. In P. G. Okoth, F. K. Matanga, & K. Onkware (Eds.), Peace, Security and Development in 21st Century Africa: Theory and Practice (pp. 513-539). Nairobi: Finnese Publishing Ltd. Print.

Onditi, F. O. (2015). Civil-Military relations influencing viability of multi-dimensional peace support capabilities within Eastern and Western Standby Forces, 2004-2014. Ph.D. Thesis in Peace and Conflict Studies. Kakamega: Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology. Print.

Patman, R. G. (2015). The roots of strategic failure: The Somalia syndrome and Al Qaeda's Path to 9/11. International Politics, 52(1), 89-109. DOI:

Sopko, J. F. (2021). What we need to Learn: Lessons from twenty years of Afghanistan reconstruction. Arlington, Varginia: SIGAR.

Vedder, S. (2009). Why did the Soviet Union fail to defeat the Mujahedin? Aberystwyth: University of Wales.

Wæver, O. (1995). Securitization and desecuritization. In R. Lipschutz, On Security (pp. 46-86). New York: Columbia University Press.

Waldron, A. (2017). Reexamining the Vietnam War, four decades after America's defeat.

Williams, M. C. (2003). Words, images, enemies: Securitisation and international politics. International Studies Quarterly, 47(12), 511-531. DOI:

Williams, P. D., & Hashi, A. (2016). Exit strategy challenges for the AU Mission in Somalia. Mogadishu, Somalia: Heritage Institute for policy.

Williams, P. D., & Nguyen, T. (2018). Neighbourhood dynamics in UN peacekeeping operations, 1990-2017. International Peace Institute. DOI:

Williams, P. D., D'Alessandro, M., Darkwa, L., de Coning, C., Helal, A., Machakaire, J., & Rupesinghe, N. (2018). Assessing the effectiveness of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM). Oslo: Norwegian Institute of International Affairs.

Yarger, H. R. (2006). Strategic theory for the 21st century: The little book on big strategy. Carlisle, PA: Strategic Studies Institute.




How to Cite

Kamais, C. E., Okoth, P. G., & Kimokoti, S. N. (2024). African Union Mission in Somalia Considerations for Transition and Kenya’s National Security. African Journal of Empirical Research, 5(2), 267–280.