Effects of Terrorism on the Political Economy: Case Study of Garissa County, Kenya
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Ever since 1970, Kenya has experienced more than 440 terrorist related attacks in different parts of the country. As at the end of 2017, Garissa County which is in the Northern part of Kenya, had been hit at least 53 times, putting the County second only to Nairobi County in terms of the lion’s share of the total number of terrorist attacks in Kenya. This study set out to investigate the effects of terrorist related attacks on human capital, physical infrastructure, and private property and its consequent effect on political economy. It examined the negative, disruptive and destabilizing effect of terrorist acts upon the conditions necessary for production, distribution and consumption, within Kenya’s political economy. In particular, the study adopted a rational choice theory and an instrumental theory to explore terrorism’s causes, the effects of terrorist attacks on the local household economy, and more specifically examined how terrorism affects households’ economic choices and spending patterns in Garissa County. The study, carried out in two administrative units, Garissa Township and Dadaab constituencies, with a total population of 53,994 households, adopted a descriptive survey design incorporating qualitative data collected through interviews, and quantitative data collected by administering questionnaires. The study also incorporated data from government and non-government reports as well as online sources. The study area covered. Participants comprised 215 respondents, including 175 households and 40 key informants drawn from governmental and non-governmental organisations. Data collected was analysed for descriptive statistics (frequencies, means and percentages). Findings indicate that terrorism related activities in Garissa County had negatively affected human capital through death of citizens, injuries, immobility of skilled labour and some health complications. It was also found that terrorist attacks damaged infrastructure such as transportation and water systems, trading centres, school facilities, communication networks and the electric grid. In addition, findings show that private properties were destroyed to the detriment of socio-economic status of the residents as well as triggering escalation of commodity prices. More specifically, this study confirmed a positive correlation between increased terror attacks and a less vibrant political economy in Garissa, largely as a result of the negative effect of terror attacks to household economies. These findings offer additional context to which (non)government agencies can review and guide appropriate policy development in the quest to mitigate terrorism’s consequences.