EASTERN AFRICA STANDBY FORCE’S EXECUTION OF ITS MANDATE IN MAINTAINING PEACE AND SECURITY IN KENYA AND SOMALIA
Kabage, Robert Gichangi
MetadataShow full item record
The nature and numbers of intrastate conflicts in the early nineteen nineties challenged regional security; thereby requiring a collective regional response. This explains the formation of a number of regional security mechanisms such as East African Standby Force (EASF) with a mandate to maintain peace and security in the Eastern Africa region. Despite over a decade of its existence, EASF efforts to tackle the seemingly intractable peace and security dilemmas in the region and especially in Kenya and Somalia have remained elusive and insignificant, making it more of a bystander. This study sought to address this gap. The general objective of this study was to assess Eastern Africa Standby Force’s execution of its mandate in maintaining peace and security in Kenya and Somalia. More specifically, the study examined the structure and nature of Eastern Africa Standby Force; assessed Eastern Africa Standby Force’s efforts in maintaining peace and security in Kenya and Somalia and; examined challenges and opportunities arising from Eastern Africa Standby Force’s execution of its mandate in maintaining peace and security in Kenya and Somalia. The study adopted a conceptual framework underpinned by three theories; the Regional Security Complex theory, the Neofunctionalism theory and the Power theory, all emanating from the Realism school of thought.The study used a descriptive survey research design. The study was conducted in Kenya and Somalia.The study utilized simple random sampling strategy to determine the settings and the participants .A sample size of 385 officials was achieved from the total population using the Mora and Kloet (2010) formula. The sample size was distributed evenly across the study areas. Questionnaires, interview guides, and Focused Group Discussions (FGD) were used to collect primary data whereas secondary data was gathered from journals and reports. Quantitative data was analyzed by SPSS version 24 while qualitative data was analyzed through coding, verbatim and thematic organization. As for the structure and nature of the EASF, the study found out that EASF has an adequate operational structure with 61% of the respondents agreeing that EASF had adequate mission support structure to be able to execute its mandate in Kenya and Somalia. On nature, the study found out that the EASF does not operate in vacuum and so its operations are shaped by regional governments, 73% of the respondents avouched that regional governments played a significant role in maintaining peace and security. As for EASF efforts to enhance its capability to be able to maintain peace and security, the study found out that EASF has put in place a number of initiatives. Thus, the study found out that, 67% of the respondents acknowledged that regional organizations contributed significantly to EASF efforts to maintain peace and security in Kenya and Somalia.On challenges and opportunities, the study found out that EASF effectiveness is hampered by dearth of political cohesion, with 89 % of the respondents agreeing that lack of political cohesion has a high impact on the performance of EASF in maintaining peace and security in Kenya and Somalia.Notwithstanding the challenges, the study also found out that there were opportunities available to EASF in its maintenance of peace and security in Kenya and Somalia, to include establishment of maritime planning cell in its structure. The Study concludes that, despite efforts employed by EASF to promote Peace and Security in Kenya and Somalia, there are prevalent challenges that continue to undermine and stymie EASF’s effectiveness. This, therefore, calls for more political cohesion among its member states, renewed commitment of member states to pledge forces, contribute finances, provide logistic support while harmonizing its training and doctrines so as to create an effective EASF.