Security sector reforms and their implication in fighting against terrorism in Kenya (1998-2015)
Ochieng’, Albert Okinda
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The growing threat of global terrorism to various countries’ national security prompted most governments such as Kenya to make reforms in the security sector to mitigate the vice. The study explored security sector reforms and their implication in the fight against terrorism in Kenya between 1998 and 2015. The study sought to realize the following objectives: examine the conceptual issues and origin of global terrorism; explore the trends of terrorism in Kenya (1998-2015); analyse the relevance of the reforms in the security sector in fighting terrorism in Kenya since 1998-2015; and to assess the effectiveness and implications of reforms in the security sector in mitigating terrorism. To achieve these objectives the study used both primary and secondary data. Primary data was obtained using in depth interview guides while secondary data was subjected to critical textual analysis and interpretation to test the relevance and accuracy of the document for the purpose of the study. The obtained qualitative data was analysed thematically. The study found out that global terrorism has been in existence since human civilization. However, it has been changing in terms of the target audience, modus operandi and ideology. The study also found out that Kenya has been a target of increased attacks due to the government’s intervention into Somalia following a spate of attacks by Somalia based terrorist group (al-Shabaab). The vulnerability of the country to terror attacks had prompted the government to carry out various security sector reforms from 1998-2015 in order to mitigate the vice. These vary from institutional reforms to policy formulations and regional and international cooperation. The study demonstrated that though these reforms were geared toward addressing the runaway insecurity in the country, they have fallen short of applying appropriate mechanism in addressing the underlying causes, which make the country a soft target for terrorist activities. This is because terrorist attacks resulted from continued securitization of terrorism. This therefore, requires wider reforms, which often result in heavy handedness of the government in addressing incidents and terror suspects. Therefore, the Kenya government has found it challenging in addressing the threat of terrorism since it is supposed to balance liberty and security.