Think Security Africa (TSA) latest survey on the National Security Profile of the Republic of Kenya, elevates concerns about the speed of restructuring in Kenya.
The report also highlight the need to ensure that existing security issues do not negatively affect changes in Kenya’s new political and budgetary arrangements.
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).
The survey found that 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.
It also found that the 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 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.
The 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 marginalised and conflict prone. Strong national oversight is required to prevent these investments and budgetary allocations from fuelling conflict and other forms of insecurity.