Implications of Xenophobia on Relations between Kenya and South Africa; 2008-2018
Ruto, Philip Kipngeno
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The impact of the various social ills breaks the bonds that anchor bilateral engagements between nations. With the countries involved in the engagement having a set of diverse social ills that would be deemed dangerous to their bilateral relationship, there has never been an adequate focus on how xenophobia has influenced bilateral dealings between South Africa and Kenya. Although it is not a new phenomenon, xenophobia has proved to be one area that determines the standing of bilateral dealing between other African countries and South Africa. The purpose of the study was to examine the impact of South African xenophobia on its relationship with Kenya between the years 2008 and 2018. Specifically, the study examined the causes of xenophobia in South Africa, analysed effects of xenophobia on citizens from countries neighbouring South Africa between 2008 to 2018, assessed the effects of xenophobia on the Kenya nationals wishing to work or study in South Africa and examined xenophobia effects on political and economic relations between Kenya and South Africa. The research used descriptive research design. Primary data and secondary data were used. The secondary data included the information extracted from existing written sources. Raw data were gathered by scheduling interview with officials in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Embassies. The gathered data were analysed qualitatively as well as quantitative by examining the interrelationships among factors and the obtained data. As per the research findings, it was clear that xenophobia is a matter that affects bilateral relations between countries. Despite the existence of minimal instances of xenophobia in Kenya, there is a growing feeling about it in South Africa due to increased influx of foreigners into South Africa and subsequently taking up jobs that would ordinarily be done by the locals. The study recommended that the message of African unity should be spread across African states to include Kenya and South Africa. The civil society and the media should pursue this agenda so that citizens of the two countries can realise the importance of unity and benefit from the same by way of achieving cohesion and economic integration and development. South Africa government should deal decisively with the perpetrators of violence in their country to deter the youth from engaging in killings and disruption of business and tarnishing the image of one of Africa’s economic giants. This will be achieved through the development of domestic laws and strengthening of police and justice response to xenophobic violence.