The Strategic aspects of Kenya’s Maritime Security (2008-2020)
Charo, Alfred Mwango
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The prospects and aspirations in Kenya’s maritime domain are today facing complex and highly dynamic traditional and non-traditional maritime security threats that portend a direct consequence to Kenya’s national security. The threats of terrorism and the upsurge of piracy in the Western Indian Ocean region led to the Kenyan government’s reaction to the maritime asymmetric threats. These reactions became the onset of Kenya’s significant engagement in maritime security issues. The adopted maritime responses were reactive in posture, which engendered the establishment and restructuring of several maritime security organizations and training to deal with the threats manifestation in Kenya’s maritime domain. However, the implementation of these maritime security frameworks and responses continue to face challenges, making them tend to be not so much effective in dealing with the maritime threats in Kenya’s maritime jurisdiction. This study responded to three research questions: Firstly, is how effective and capable are the current maritime security organizations and frameworks able to deal with the maritime security threats? Secondly, is how are the policies and strategies shaping the maritime threats in Kenya? Thirdly, is how best can the problem be addressed? Primary data was collected through key informant interviews with academics, maritime security experts and government officials; both retired and serving. Secondary data was also sourced from relevant publications and media reports. The data obtained were analyzed using content and thematic analysis techniques. The findings disclosed that numerous maritime security agencies in Kenya that faced several challenges; multifaceted transitional maritime threats, duplication of roles, limited resources, absence of common SOPs and limited cooperation among the maritime security agencies, which hindered the execution of their respective mandates. The study also came up with recommendations on how best the challenges could be addressed to effectively enhance maritime security in Kenya.