Natural Resources and Security in Laikipia County, Kenya
Mutunga, Jeremiah Gitau
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The purpose of the study was to examine the implications of natural resource usage on security in Laikipia County since there have been tensions over water and pasture. To achieve this objective, the study was guided by the following objectives: to examine the effect of land use on Security, to analyze of the effect of water usage on Security, to investigate the effect of pasture scarcity on Security, and to determine the moderating effect of culture and law on the relationship between natural resource usage and security. The study adopted the Theory of Environmental Scarcity to draw theoretical constructs that underlined the study variables. The study employed a correlational research design to establish the direction and strength of the relationship between natural resource usage and security. The targeted population were residents of Laikipia County. The study employed purposive sampling technique to draw a sample size of 100 respondents. Data were collected using questionnaires, interviews for key informant, and focused group discussions (FGDs). Quantitative data were analysed using using SPSS version 24 to compute descriptive statistics (mean standard deviation and frequency distributions) and inferential statistics (Pearson correlation and multiple linear regression). Content analysis was applied to analyze qualitative data which was triangulated along the quantitative data to increase validity and credibility of the findings. Analysis of the collected data pointed out that land usage significantly influences insecurity at r = (93) .107 p= 0.45, Water at r = (93) .388, P= 0.00 and pasture at r = (93), .377 p= 0.00. The insecurity was manifested through violent conflict mainly because of migration of pastoralists from neighbouring counties. Water usage has a significant influence on security as the available water sources are not sufficient. The study revealed that inadequate pasture is a critical predictor of violent conflict, owing to the movement of herders into private pasture. Overall, resource usage in the area significantly contributes to insecurity at F (3,89), 8.231, p= 0.00, R2 =.217 which translates to 21.7 % of insecurity in the region with pasture contributing 46.7 % water at 24.7 % while land is at 13.5 % suggesting that search for pasture leads to greatest risk in the region. The study established that culture, such as social organization, cultural preferences, and norms, as well as negligence of pastoral land by state policies, weak laws coupled with weak penal codes influenced behaviour of residents to create insecurity in the region. Further the study established that land, water and pasture are intertwined since the search for pasture and water culminates in encroachment of private land since both water and pasture are located on land. However, invasion of private land in search of pasture and water for livestock does not reflect semblance of land with pasture and water given that infiltration into private land is short-term. Furthermore, the three natural resources researched in this study are intertwined as disagreements on usage of one affects the other. In addition, scarcity of one of the natural resources aggravates the conflict on the other owing to their inherent interrelationships. The study recommends that the National and County governments should legislate state water policies and laws and strengthen their enforcement, ensure equity and equality in distribution of water, facilitate modern management of livestock and pasture. Vast landowners, ranchers included, should give back to the community in terms of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) such as water projects, schools, bursaries, churches, and continue leasing pastures to pastoralists.