Collective Security Institutions and Stabilization of the Eastern Africa Subregion, 1990-2018
Kibochi, Robert Kariuki
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Despite the existence of Collective Security Institutions (CSIs), the Eastern Africa subregion still experiences resurgent and protracted conflicts and hosts over 4.6 million refugees and 6 million Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs). Between 2013-2020, over 28,000 fatalities were recorded in South Sudan and Somalia while in the last decade, terror attacks accounted for over 5,000 deaths in the subregion. The objectives of the study were to: establish contemporary security threats in the Eastern Africa subregion; analyze the extent to which Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), East Africa Community (EAC) and Eastern Africa Standby Force (EASF) have managed the contemporary security threats; examine the extent of contribution of IGAD, EAC and EASF to conflict resolution in Somalia, South Sudan and Burundi and assess the structural and institutional challenges facing the CSIs in pursuit of conflict resolution. The study was guided by Neorealism, Neoliberal Institutionalism and Constructivism theories. A mixed methods research approach incorporating cross sectional survey and phenomenological research designs was adopted. The target population included 638 CSIs staff: IGAD (230), EAC (190), EASF (218) and 210 Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) dealing with peace and conflict. The study sample size comprised 226 staff from the three CSIs, 21 CSO representatives and 138 beneficiaries. Proportionate stratified random sampling procedure was used to identify the sample of strategic, operational and tactical level staff of the CSIs while cluster and purposive sampling techniques were used to obtain CSOs representatives and beneficiaries. Questionnaires, interview schedules and Focus Group Discussion (FGD) guides were used to collect data from the CSIs’ respondents, CSOs interviewees and FGD participants respectively. Content validity procedures were used to ensure instruments’ validity while reliability was tested using Split-Half technique and Cronbach Alpha coefficient. Quantitative data were analyzed using descriptive statistics aided by SPSS (version 23) while thematic and content analysis were used for the qualitative data set. The study established that a myriad of contemporary security threats among them terrorism, electoral-induced violence, proliferation of SALWs, cybercrime and resource-based conflicts continue to evolve and lead to violent conflicts in the subregion. The three CSIs performed satisfactorily in conflict early warning, early response and capacity building elements of Conflict Prevention Management and Resolution (CPMR). Moderate performance was reported in peace keeping and mediation while poor performance was reported in humanitarian intervention. The CSIs performed poorly in post conflict peace building owing to being under-resourced, existence of weak legal frameworks and impediments attributed to sovereignty concerns. Comparatively, IGAD CPMR rating was higher followed by EASF and EAC with IGAD outperforming the rest in conflict early warning (95%), early response (88%), mediation (72%), peace keeping (86%) and peace enforcement (68%). Under-investment in conflict prevention and post-conflict peace building greatly undermined CSIs’ response to sub-regional conflicts. Structural and institutional challenges such as overlapping mandates, over reliance on donor funding and lack of political commitment to agreed treaties and protocols exist. The study recommends that sub-regional states designate IGAD as the CSI with the overall mandate for peace and security while EAC focuses on regional economic and political integration with EASF being primarily a military-heavy institution providing the security intervention dimension.