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From Securing the State Security to Regional Disorder: An Exploration of Instability in North Eastern Kenya

Victoria Phildah Awiti, Fredrick Ouma Wanyama, Michael Omondi Owiso

Maseno University, Kisii University

From the colonial time to date, North Eastern Kenya has witnessed sporadic incidents of instability characterised by conflict and insecurity. Scholarly studies have attributed instability to state capacity that includes structural weaknesses such as inability to monopolize the use of violence, poor border controls and ineffective law enforcement. However, such studies do not explain why the state does not function to its optimal capacity in the region. This paper argues that instability in North Eastern Kenya is a deliberate creation of disorder by the state. Measures taken by both the colonial and post-colonial governments to secure their interests have subsequently rendered the region unstable. It argues that the colonial government in an attempt to secure the white highlands used the Northern Frontier District as a buffer zone with minimal investment. Similarly, the post-colonial government curved it out as a security zone to tame insurgency and denied it the necessary attention required to make it safe and secure.



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