Changing Political Relations between Kenya and Somalia; 1963-2014.
Momanyi, Caspal Maina
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We live in an increasingly interconnected world with a lot of potential and significant benefits to our everyday life. The rich complexity of international relationships (political, economic and cultural) provides a puzzle that we must endeavor to understand. Political relations among nations cover a range of activities which include; diplomacy, war, trade relations, alliances, cultural exchanges, participation in international organizations and so forth. Kenyan foreign policy has historically alternated between internationalist (regionalist) and isolationist moods. Instability in Somalia and the terrorist attacks of 2014 renewed public support for Kenyan intervention in the Somali conflict. Kenya’s engagement in Somalia is founded on multilateralism instead of unilateralism. Therefore, this study explored the relations between Kenya and Somalia from 1963-2014. The study sought to understand the changing dynamics of these relations especially after the 1998 twin bombing of Kenya and Tanzanian US embassies and interrogate whether the emergence of Al-shabaab impacted on the relations between the two countries. The study achieved this by focusing on the following objectives: To explore the relations between Somalia and Kenya in the period 1963-1990: To examine the impact of the 1998 twin bombing on the relations between the two nations and finally interrogate the emergence and growth of terrorism especially Al-shabaab and its activities and how these have informed relations between Kenya and Somalia. The study was guided by: Securitization theory and Just War theory. The study employed Descriptive and Explorative research designs where interviews were used as the main source of primary data and as well as secondary sources of data. Target population was selected through the use purposive and snowballing sampling techniques. The findings indicated that the relations between Kenya and Somalia in the period 1963 to 1978 were very poor and between 1978 to 1990 the relations between the two countries were cordial. It was also established that between 1990 to 1995, the policy of free movement of people and goods between Kenya and Somalia existed but this changed between 1998 to 2006 when there were terror activities in Kenya and Tanzania. These created mistrust and tension between Kenya and Somalia thus complicating the relationship. The study also indicated that the emergence of Al-shabaab and the war of terror have reconfigured the relations between Kenya and Somalia since cases of insecurity in Kenya have increased leading to vetting of the Somali people seeking asylum or working in Kenya twice and also the country want the Somali refugees to go back to their country. This has really strained the relations between the two countries. The study is significant for policy makers and in particular those in the foreign relations docket as it will help inform policy formulation relating to how relations between the two states may be crafted.