Friday, 20 November 2020 06:58

The Effect of Kenya’s Ontological (in) Security in the Context of the Horn of Africa

Written by C. C. O. Okwany
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C. C. O. Okwany

Department of Political Science and Public Administration,

The University of Nairobi.

Postal address – 48171, 00100 Nairobi, Kenya: +254 729 226 64

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In analyzing the evolution of Kenyan foreign policy from the period of 1963 to 2020, I consider the contribution of psychology and sociology into security studies.  Comparing different cases such as the ‘Shifta wars,’ ‘Wagalla massacre,’ Anti-Terror legislation, International Criminal Court (ICC) cases, ‘Operation Linda Nchi’ (OLN), and Maritime Boundary Dispute (MBD) including their consequences. Interrogating Kenya’s security, I concentrate on the ontological security paradigm, taking into contexts the stability and adaptability of identity components. I conclude that Kenya struggles with her identity internally while internationally, the state’s nationalistic identity is almost tangible.  The state influence of international actors’ impact on the (in) security of Kenya and the region.  The paper is guided by the secondary data from the past thinkers on Kenyan foreign policy and primary sources from key informants’ interviews and conferences related to the topic. The paper recommends that Kenya’s foreign policy behavior should concentrate more on the pan-African philosophy, applying the ubuntu thinking to foster collective identity and avoid sporadic al-Shabaab attacks and Somalia continuous irredentist ideas.


Keywords: Foreign policy, horn of Africa, Kenya, ontological security

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