DEEPENING FOUNDATIONS FOR PEACEBUILDING
This programme builds on the achievements made under the program “Consolidating the Peace Process and Establishing Foundations for a Peaceful Political Transition (CPP), 2010-2013”. The CPP was an integrated programme coordinated by GOK through the Ministry of Interior and Coordination of National Government that brought on board state and non-state actors taking lead on implementation of specific programme outputs. Also under the CPP were the Armed Violence Reduction project (AVRP) and the Conflict Transformation project (CTP) that addressed specific issues such as the peace dividend outputs that were delivered through the AVRP in Arid and Semi-Arid areas. Under the proposed programme, this integrated approach will be enhanced further by the guiding principle that all initiatives will maintain an integrated approach and complement each other.
Kenya’s peace and security landscape is characterized by a myriad of conflict drivers such as ethno-political competition for power, poverty, youth unemployment, transnational crime, terrorism, recruitment of vulnerable youth into militia groups and criminality, and proliferation of small arms and light weapons among others. This situation is exacerbated by regional instability especially the conflicts in Somalia, South Sudan and Great Lakes Region. This has resulted in refugee influx and the compounding challenges of screening refugees to counter terrorists, trafficking of small arms, radicalization – impacting on the government’s ability to provide adequate security to counter the threats of terrorism and transnational crimes.
The state of community security especially in the cross-border areas, arid and semiarid areas and some urban areas is quite worrisome. Threats to security in these areas is compounded by vast porous borders, limited State presence and inadequate responses from security agencies, competition over resources, poverty, high levels of illiteracy, unemployment and the ease in access to illicit arms, thereby necessitating some communities to arm themselves in self-defense. A 2011 GOK-UNDP funded study estimated that there could be 530,000– 680,000 illicit SALWs in civilian hands in the country.1 Similarly, according to the annual crime report by the National Police Service, about 77, 859 criminal incidents were committed using firearms in 2012.2 Further, researches by UNDP-supported Crime Observatory project reveals the same trends of growing insecurity in the country. Largely, urban insecurity is propagated by, in addition to the factors above, the presence of organized criminal groups (including radical elements) that employ extortion and other forms of economic exploitation on the citizenry. While the Prevention of Organized Crime Act, 2010 is in place and proscribes 37 criminal groups in the country; and combatting of these groups has presented a challenge to the Government’s security apparatus. Additionally, the influx of refugees exerts additional pressure on the environment and exacerbates internal resource competition with the host communities posing serious threats in various parts of the country. The on-going efforts at repatriation of refugees to Somalia, which commenced in 2013, is likely to bring with it attendant challenges.
Moreover, Kenya has faced attacks by radical terrorist groups coupled with influences of global jihadist movements, – epitomized by the Westgate Mall attacks on September 21, 2013 which claimed the lives of about 70 people. The large population of unemployed idle youth in the poverty stricken slum areas of the major cities and the festering grievances of the coastal areas have been fertile grounds for recruitment by extremists groups, leading to real fears of home grown terrorism. Sporadic attacks on mass transport and places of worship throughout 2013/2014 have raised the spectre of religious conflagration which needs to be countered. Indeed, if not checked, the growing radicalism-based terrorist attacks could inflame religious intolerance and overt sectarian violence in the country.
The recent discovery of oil, high-value minerals and wind power potential in most unstable and drought prone regions of the country could further fuel instability if the extractive sector follows historical trends in other countries. Globally, it is well known that extractive industries such as oil and mining are problematic in politically unstable environments with weak systems of governance. Rather than stimulating broad-based economic development and reducing poverty, inadequate management of extractives industries-generated wealth could create a false sense of economic security, inequality and fuel violent conflicts. Kenya has a great opportunity to learn from the experiences (good and bad) of other countries such as Nigeria, Norway, South Sudan, and Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and to develop new ways to ensure oil and other high-value minerals are harnessed for the common good, and contributes to stability and sustainable human development.
Policy and Legal Frameworks
Whilst the country continues to make progress in preventing, mitigating and responding to risks and disasters, conflicts and violence, there remain critical gaps at the institutional, policy and legislative frameworks as well as the community levels that need further support. In the recent past, the Government has formulated several draft policies on peace, conflict and security. A Sessional Paper on the National Policy for peacebuilding and conflict management has been prepared for Cabinet approval. The Sessional Paper on National Values has been approved whereas the Cohesion Policy is awaiting parliament approval. Other draft policies such as Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALWs); and the Ethnic Relations and Race Policy Framework are at advanced levels of approvals. The Community Policing Policy which sought to improve community security through collaboration and partnership with security agencies has been reviewed to incorporate the Nyumba Kumi3 Initiative.
The new government structure with 47 county governments in place presents opportunities for vibrant and responsive policies, laws, strategies and action plans for the management of conflicts, securing communities and promoting reconciliation, cohesion and peaceful co-existence at the county and national levels. Implementation of the recommendation of the report of the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission (TJRC) remains a challenge. Since the release of the report in May 2013, little steps have been made to support implementation of key recommendation of the report especially on land reforms – and yet land remains a key factor of conflict in the country. It is envisaged that full implementation of the TJRC Report’s recommendation could go a long way in addressing persistent structural drivers of violence in the country.