Dangers of oversharing on social media


In security, people are targeted or killed for three main reasons- who they are, what they have and what they know. The less information you share about your family, friends and business associates the safer everyone is. Social media comes with pressure to frequently share about one’s life which can have negative implications in a world where data is an important commodity.

Today many young parents are guilty of sharenting (parents sharing information- photos and videos- of their children on social media platforms) is dangerous as it violates their right to privacy, provides fodder for future bullying and makes them vulnerable to kidnapping, blackmail and even death. Secondly, many photos shared on social media highlight assets in offices or homes thus robbers would know exactly where to get your important assets. There have been numerous cases where children of prominent Kenyans have shared photos of assets that led to interest in how they acquired those things which can create security threats and lead to prosecution for involvement in corruption. Finally, depending on one’s position at work whether in government or the private sector oversharing can make you a target for competitors who can use target you to collect valuable intelligence vital for planning a kidnapping, hacking or assassination.

Social media dangers include social engineering where attackers get access to personal
information available on social media platforms to get insider information after establishing trust, to targeted phishing attacks that leave users vulnerable to hackers, exposure to malware and spam through links through adverts and fake news agencies and fake accounts that have been used for financial gain by fraudsters especially celebrity related ones. Many young people have been drawn to terrorist ideology after they were groomed online by recruiters based on the information that they shared online. The Islamic State and al Qaeda used social media platforms to spread their propaganda, recruit and train recruits on how to plan and execute attacks.

Social Media Posts gone South
In 2014 New Zealand’s Mark John Taylor aka Mohammad Daniel or Abu Abdul Rahman who joined the Islamic State shared his location while tweeting. He deleted his tweets on realizing that he had overshared, but that information was already available to security agencies through screenshots intercepted through iBrabo which is an intelligence group that collects information from open sources. The tweets Mark shared will provide vital evidence for his prosecution if he goes back to New Zealand once he leaves Kurdish forces custody.

In 2017, researchers found that data from Strava- a popular fitness app- could easily show the location and identity of US army bases across the world after mapping showed increased activity in areas in Africa and the Middle East which could easily make them targets to terrorist organizations. Kim Kardashian was robbed off expensive jewelry while in Paris after she had shared photos online in 2016.

Social media safety tips
 Resist the strong temptation to show off what you own or gifts that make you happy as
these can give ideas for sinister people on how to get to you.
 Confidential information that should not be shared includes passwords, date of birth,
school/ place of work, where you grew up, shops you frequent, family members, vehicle
number plate among others.
 Do not share your commute routes or location as these make you vulnerable to
kidnapping, robberies or targeted killings. Only share these with your next of kin.
 Do not accept friend requests or direct messages from people you do not know as they
can use you as a link to you, your family, friends or business associates.
 Restrict who has access to the information you share online and what people close to
you shouldn’t share online. Corporates should have clear policies on what employees
can or cannot share on social media. Disable geotagging functions on your devices and
online profile.
 On all your social media platforms, use strong and unique passwords to ensure that
hackers cannot easily access your information. Also change them frequently and do not
share sensitive information such as bank account details, flight itineraries online.
 Avoid using open WiFi connections to connect to the internet as there can be bugs that
access data from your devices and share it without your consent.
 Enable multi-factor authentication on all your devices so that in case your devices are
lost, other people cannot share information stored in them.
 Disable your microphone and webcams from devices lest they are used to spy on you.
 Keep yourself abreast of methods and tactics used by cybercriminals to prey on people
online and offline.

This article first appeared on the Daily Nation on Friday 22nd March 2019




The Know Your World Initiative (KYWI), Strathmore Law School (SLS) and the European Committee for Training and Agriculture (CEFA) came together in an effort to engage and create awareness in the youth on the issues around Juvenile and Restorative Justice.

The event convened together university students from Strathmore University, Riara University, Tangaza University College, JKUAT Law School, University of Nairobi and the Technical University of Kenya in an interactive session that featured a Movie Screening
and a panel conversation with experts on the subject of Juvenile Justice from Strathmore University Centre for Law and Policy, CALO Law LLP, UN Office for Drugs and Crime -Youth Office and Octopizzo Foundation.

The Forum explored the leading conditions in our society which contribute to children being in conflict with the law; the development of their lives as they serve their time in custody and out of custody; and the later process of how society contributes to their reintegration and normalization of their lives, ensuring substantive reduction in juvenile delinquency.

Download the report here:



Why Nuclear Energy should be part of Africa’s Energy Mix



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Africa has the least nuclear power of any continent in the world. All the largest economies in the world have nuclear power as part of their energy mix. Energy supply in the continent is also very low. There are also challenges of lack of access, poor reliability and high cost. Nuclear energy has the potential to mitigate these burdens by contributing to the continent’s energy mix. The Nuclear Business Platform convened the African Nuclear Business Platform in Nairobi, Kenya, with the Nuclear Power Energy Agency being the host to provide insights on the nuclear market. Among other range of Participants were Kenya’s Nuclear Power Stakeholders, vendors and representatives from African countries with the vision of embarking in the establishment of their first Nuclear Plant.

The event took place at the Movenpick Hotel in Nairobi from the 15th-16th of October, with a resolve to emphasize the importance of international collaboration in the region in Nuclear Energy. There is a growing overall political will in the globe to transition to low carbon economy that is less reliant on coal, oil and gas. The desire for decarbonization of the energy sector and of the electric power sector, in particular seem to be getting support internationally. During the Conference, The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Energy, Joseph Njoroge, underscored that Kenya was focused on pursuing reliable and sustainable, competitively priced clean energy.

Kenya views Nuclear Energy as the most viable option. The Energy Act 2019 now enhances the participation of Nuclear Power Development. Currently Hydroelectricity does not sustain industrialization alone, and a lot of effort has been put to fast track geothermal energy, which make half of Kenya’s energy mix. Other energy sources that are also being exploited are Solar and Wind. Collins Juma, the Chief Executive Officer for the Kenya’s Nuclear and Power Energy Agency, during his presentation at the conference, indicated that a Regulatory body will be in place with the establishment of the Nuclear Power Program. The Nuclear Regulatory bill is at the floor of parliament, and is currently at the second reading stage. Once the bill becomes law, a regulatory body shall be formed to exercise regulatory control over nuclear and radioactive materials and facilities and other activities the body may seek to exercise regulatory control over.

Nuclear Technologies now safer

In the exhibition, at the sidelines of the conference, nuclear energy vendors demonstrated a lot was being done take the fear out of nuclear. There is a crop of new generation of nuclear reactors that are much safer than what was there before. When a nuclear accident happens, public fears are usually exacerbated by the media, resulting in huge backlash. Hence a lot has been done in terms of the designs of the technologies to ensure the highest level of safety. There are also strict processes and regulations in place for some of the technology designs to guarantee safety. The new generation of nuclear technology, notably small to medium sized, modular reactors (SMR) is ‘affordable’ and smaller in size, thus reducing demands on land use. NuScale, a US Company, currently has mature designs for SMR.

At the Conference Prof. Abdulrazak, the Director for the Africa’s Division for IAEA at the Department for Technical Cooperation indicated that Nuclear Energy is able to mitigate Climate Change and has begun to gain popularity among developing countries, which also see it as possible route to meet their industrialization plans. At present, nuclear energy produces 10percent of the world’s electricity and 5.7 percent of the total primary energy used worldwide. Meanwhile, the global energy supply and energy use per capita are increasing. The contribution of nuclear for electricity generation varies from region to region. African countries Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, Morocco, Niger, Nigeria, Sudan, Tunisia, Ethiopia, Rwanda, and Uganda are interested in setting up nuclear power infrastructure.

Speaking at the conference, Prof. Abdularazak stated that more needs to be done among African countries in terms of Nuclear Science. Currently IAEA is working with countries to help them embark on establishing their first nuclear Power Programme. A number of African countries including Kenya have made commendable steps in their regulatory process, advancing along the three phases laid out in the IAEA framework milestones in the development of a national infrastructure for Nuclear Power. The Chief Executive officer for Nuclear Power and Energy Agency-Kenya, who also doubles as the Vice president of the International Framework for Nuclear Energy Cooperation (IFNEC) urged Africa new comer countries to create partnerships and learn from one another.

“There is need for synergy, the continent need to come together and learn from other countries that are pursuing Nuclear Energy. We need to have more African countries join IFNEC and push the Africa Nuclear Agenda”. IFNEC is the International Framework for Nuclear Energy Cooperation that provides a forum for cooperation among participating states to explore mutually beneficial approaches to ensure the use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. Taking decarbonizing of the energy sector and the power sector in particular, as a long-term imperative, nuclear energy qualifies rationally as the most viable option. This was amplified by most African Countries participating in the conference.


Albert Mbaka

Head of the Energy Security Program

Center for International & Security Affairs (CISA)

What Ukraine could learn from Kenya on Constitutional Reforms



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The Second Nairobi International Political Forum held in November 2017 by the Center for International and Security Affairs (CISA) examined the relations between the Central/Eastern European and Eastern Africa countries, the dialogue was graced by then Ukrainian ambassador to Kenya, Mr. Yevhenii Tsymbaliuk, among other diplomats. The conversation came against the backdrop of increased need for African states to expand their foreign relations portfolio to non-traditional allies in the wake of Brexit and US President Donald Trump’s America First policy, which created uncertainty about future relations between Africa and its two long-standing traditional development partners. The forum, an annual event that discusses various international political dynamics and developments, sought to identify shared opportunities and challenges that could spur greater interaction among Central and Eastern European States and African governments, and identify channels for people-to-people interactions.

While it might have been a tad bit difficult to engender the specific areas that needed greater interaction, especially between Ukraine and Kenya, it is not until the just-concluded presidential elections in Ukraine, that the link between the two states has become clearer. Ukraine, the “Breadbasket” of Europe has elected a former TV comedian Mr. Volodymyr Zelensky, defeating President Petro Poroshenko, a billionaire tycoon in the chocolate business with a landslide victory of 73 per cent against Poroshenko’s 24 per cent in the second round of the election. Zelensky got to power on the “Servant of the People” party, which also happens to be the name of the TV comedy show in Ukraine and Russia in which he played a role as president. It may look surreal that a country in the midst of an armed conflict with Russia, a well-known belligerent in international power politics, would vote a candidate with no political or military experience whatsoever as President and the commander-in-chief of Ukraine’s armed forces.

As most of the world muses over this “comical” development, comedy writer Jack Bernhardt in an opinion piece in The Guardian seems to think this is not a unique Ukrainian phenomenon. He observes that  Boris Johnson, former UK Foreign Secretary, “made his name off comic appearances on “Have I Got News For You”, rising to the mayor of London with nothing more than a stupid haircut and a propensity to say “whiff-whaff”.  Then there was the election of Donald Trump, who is touted to not only be the joke himself but the comedian telling it. Kenya’s 2017 General Election was also not short of “interesting” choices by the electorate, and we were treated to a menu of musicians, comedians, and even suspected criminals into positions of power. This pattern of unorthodox choices for political representation across the world is nothing to laugh about because it represents an underlying failure of conventional leadership to address the actual needs of the people. It is a wave of populism that is increasingly becoming the biggest threat to democracy, by creating an “us-versus-them” political system, in a bid to overhaul establishment models of governance, heavily controlled by socio-economic elites to the perceived determent of the masses.

The outcome of the Ukrainian election is nothing more but a reflection of the disenfranchisement of angry populations, frustrated by years of dysfunctional governance. Since its independence in 1991, when the Soviet Union finally disintegrated, Ukraine adopted a semi-presidential constitutional system in 1996, in which the President is directly elected by the people, and shares power with a prime minister, who can be dismissed by Parliament. Power struggles between the president and the prime minister created an unstable constitutional order, with a presidency that has often fallen prey to autocratic tendencies and foreign intervention by Russia.

Leonid Kuchma, the second President of independent Ukraine and the first to serve under the 1996 constitution, had no less than seven prime ministers in his 1994-2005 regime. Two revolutions, the Orange Revolution in 2004 and the Euromaidan Protests of 2013-14 saw the constitution amended back and forth from a presidential-parliamentary system to a premier-presidential system, where only the legislature can dismiss the prime minister, in an effort to curb presidential powers. None of these efforts, however, have borne fruit in combating entrenched corruption, low levels of institutionalization of political parties, which are also highly personalized and have weak programmatic development agendas, a script that mirrors the situation in Kenya.

Evidently, these constitutional amendments have not done much to alleviate the constitutional and political instability in Ukraine, something Kenya could learn ahead of the 2022 polls. Kenya and Ukraine are grappling with defining the true nature of who they are, where they belong as a people and which governance system best creates a stable environment for the two states to prosper. Kenya has however managed to institutionalize power-sharing models in the 2010 Constitution, by creating devolved units to decentralize power, enabling an environment where power struggles no longer greatly impede implementation of public policies, and establishment of independent institutions to oversight the Executive. This is what Ukraine could borrow: a functional constitutional dispensation that enables consolidation of Ukrainian territory and its people, the lack of which could be attributed to have created political and constitutional instability, notwithstanding perennial meddling by Russia in Ukraine’s domestic politics.

The huge task for President Zelensky, therefore, would be to consolidate the partisan centers of power, starting with clinching enough parliamentary seats in the upcoming parliamentary election in October 2019. In the current premier-presidential system, the president only gains legitimacy to implement government policies through Parliament, and will hopefully lead the country towards long-term constitutional reforms for a stable Ukraine. If this is not achieved, then “laughter will no longer be just a medicine, but a poison, allowing untrustworthy people to rise to the top” as described by Jack Bernhardt.


Monica Ng’ang’a is a Director at the Centre for International and Security Affairs (CISA)- a Nairobi based Think Tank.

The Role of Soft Power in Countering Intellectual Extremism and Terrorism



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The very nature of soft power in the 21st century seem to imply a disassociation with real effects of violence and critical security. However, the intricate nature of the utilization of ‘soft power’ to achieve the benefits of ‘hard power’ demands a compound approach for long lasting stability in view of the changing International Order. It is evident that what is classified as ‘soft power’ is among the first targets for terrorist groups, for instance religious and cultural heritage sites and Educational institutions in the case of Boko Haram in Nigeria and the Taliban in Pakistan. It is also clear that the roots of Extremism in all forms begins in learning centers, whether education institutions, religious centers or informal education facilities. It is these places that become both a threat and a safe haven for the continuing policies by extremist groups and terrorists. Therefore, the role of Mainstream Education Centers in the 21st century is a subject that demands a keener examination and is the sole idea for this Abstract- a panacea to both Intellectual Extremism and Terrorism.

The formal institutionalization of ideology and skills in centers of learning can be traced to Mesopotamia in Egypt’s Middle Kingdom, with the development and mastery of the early logographic system of cuneiform script by the sons born of royal birth and nobility. The idea then, was to inculcate skills held dearly by the society as well as channels to build character, discipline especially among the elite society. Informal institutionalization was reserved in cultural practices in each society to retain knowledge among generations, this was a responsibility of every member of the family from maternal and paternal influences to the Ruling Class and society at large. Most of these practices exist today in each society in different forms as would be defined by the circumstances and prerequisites for survival.

There was as is today, contrasting opinions on same subjects, however we learn that new thinking and approaches would be harshly dealt with. While some societies would resort to explore alienation of the person or group, others would settle for extermination. It is no different in the 21st century, where discord in thought especially against the ruling elites is received by some countries as harshly as then, with the employment of new strategies such as court sentences, social media bullying, image tarnishing, creative deaths as well as psychological torture. The difference today however, is that there is a growing community of those who find contrasts in thought as a challenge to advance existing levels of knowledge, those who engage in dialogues and debates with those of a different ideological precinct. The stark differences are as a result of the lack of appreciation of similar values across cultures, leading to what has been termed as a ‘clash of civilization’ as in the case of Intellectual Extremism. As of terrorism, the constant view has been that ‘one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter’ and so long as this exists there will always be those who support either sides.

Reality notes that the commercialization of our centers of learning has undermined the education of values that unite human ideologies as a quintessential for human development and instead championed unhealthy inter-human competition creating generations that find more comfort in their own well-being rather than collective well-being of societies. It should be noted also, that the very funding that finds its way to reputable learning centers also finds its way into the pockets of Extremist Groups and Terrorist Organizations (EGTOs), creating a structural conflict that only benefits the very contributors. The situation has now become complex and intricate requiring an innovative inclusive model to regain the essence of education beyond commercial interests. This responsibility ought to be shouldered by the well-meaning collectives and governments.

Soft power in light of the intricacies should advance the approaches to merge with the strategies of hard power. This would include measures at the levels of state and non-state actors. The following could be some precise measures:

  1. Educational Model for Universalists Values?

Since December 10, 1948 when the Universal Declaration for Human Rights was adopted by the United Nations, Education has been a right for all (Article 26).

“Everyone has a right to education. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages. Elementary education shall be compulsory… Education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and to strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. It shall promote understanding, tolerance and friendship among all nations, racial or religious groups, and shall further the activities of the United Nations for the maintenance of peace…”

The architecture of education is however wanting in the decisive eradication of ignorance. That the most educated person in the world would have gathered the most important lessons in life away from institutions of learning, and that the least educated person is considered as not having had a formal education, is in itself a fascinating misdoing of the current systems of learning. That leaders of EGTOs are among the well-educated in societies and those who are under their influence undoubtedly have received formal education and are geniuses in their own right, proves the very betrayal of the educational institutions meant to produce men and women of character and valuable to the collective progress as a human society.

Noting that various schools induct their students on contemporary appreciation of the universal values and especially skills, it is worth noting also that they remain but only basic information without much follow-ups and developments. For a utopia of universalism of values, all children should have information about multiple religions as much as they have on that which their parents subscribe on their behalf. This would necessitate inquiry into the foundations on at least the religions most professed across the world, being Christianity and Islam, which also harbor the philosophies of the extremist groups and are an excuse for some of the terrorist groups unfortunate events. A broader appreciation will expand the understanding across cultures and families, and reduce the misconceptions on religions that lead to extremism.

Early civilization was shared across nations, the first university in the world according to the Guinness World Book of Records is the University of Al-Karaouine in Fes, Morocco founded in 859 by a woman named Fatima al- Fihri. The University would become home to both Islamic and Christian scholars such as Mohammad al-Idrisi (known for Tabula Rogeriana- The Book of Roger) and Pope Sylvester II (The First French Pope, known for the introduction of the decimal numerical system in Europe using Arabic numerals). Scholars from Africa married their thoughts with those from Europe and Asia in the investigation of various aspects of life to produce knowledge that would be acceptable across the universe while delivering on the promise of collective human progress.

Such efforts in modern times, can be successful through the consolidation of resources by Non-State Actors with the support of government, to create a truly global educational model that is not just multi-cultural in composition but one that explores multi-cultural ideals and values, produces individuals that are well compatible with the ideal virtues of humanity. The model should have into consideration the centers of extremists and target groups lured into terrorist organizations. This model could be taught and implemented through the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) structures across the Member States or well-meaning countries to reach all levels of education and especially elementary and primary levels.

  1. The Battle for the Hearts and Minds

The Militarization of issues considered in nature as soft power such as (Public Opinion) have been among the rise of the EGTOs in the 20th and 21st centuries. It has been admitted that the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan conceived al-Qa’ida in 1988 coupled with a strategic error by the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) funding the mujahideen fighters through Pakistan’s Inter-services Intelligence Agency to counter the Marxist threat (Operation Cyclone) a factor that strengthened the resolve to advance the jihadist course beyond Afghanistan. The 2003 invasion of Iraq by the United States Armed Forces (USAF) and Western Forces would create a breeding ground for the activities of al-Qa’ida which led to the growth of other groups such as the Islamic State in Iraq (ISI) later metamorphosized into the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) following the Syrian Civil War in 2011, then the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) -Greater Syria Region and now Islamic State (IS)- claiming religious, political and military authority over all Muslims worldwide.

With the initial target of establishing a democratic country- a process that would have been led by soft power strategies, the technical misdirection by the USAF seemed to have undermined the unity of the peoples under Sadaam Hussein regime. The quest for power, autonomy and independence by the various religious and ethnic factions created an environment where Islamic Extremism/Fundamentalism flourished leading to instability in Iraq and Syria as they seek to form Islamic Caliphate.

What makes it more complex is the various Islamic yet ethnic antagonists to the very idea, who now seek to expel the protagonists of the Caliphate. The power-play could also be the very division of the Islamic-Political world/civilization seen as a threat to international order if not western civilization.  If so, then history is not shy to remind us that two wrongs do not make a right and the continuation of war by the various factions would only be biting on granite.

Modern militaries’ strategies should beyond conquest learn the art of winning hearts and minds. An example of a backlash is the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) currently in Somalia fighting the terrorist group Al-Shabaab. While success has been evidence with the re-taking of Kismayu Port – among other key strategic locations previously under the Al-Shabaab, withdrawal of the Mission is proving a challenge. The presence of the Military has been over-extended and fatigue from Troop Contributing Countries (TCCs) as well as donor fatigue are now the main hinderances to the stabilization of Somalia. The spill-over effects have been felt in Kenya where civilians have been killed in several attacks since the invasion. Al-Shabaab has also found new recruiting grounds in Kenya targeting the youth in informal settlements through various networks including religious learning centers.

A soft-power approach that could be useful for the military strategists would be enhancement of civil-military relations appreciating the understanding that Policy precedes Force. While policies could be driven by ultimate selfish goals of an intervening state, the recommendation would be for the Peace Keeping Forces of regional security complexes and the United Nations Operations to integrate peace-keeping and peace-building activities for maximum benefits. Incorporation recognizes that insecurity ends when development begins and development ends where Insecurity begins. In areas where terrorist groups have been weakened and order restored, there should follow immediate construction of educational centers, recreational facilities, medical facilities, and leveraging on Private Sector Investments that will be instrumental in easing the military budgets, normalizing activities and engaging the youth who when left with no options could join or defect to the terrorist organizations that are being fought, resulting in endless and unending cycles of conflicts. Eventually, it is the people that give the land its moral, economic and political value. An example of Somalia shows that AMISOM may have stabilized Somalia, but have not empowered the country; it may have stopped the war, but did not actually bring peace.

  1. Smart Power as a Compromise  

The 21st century brings advantages such as Artificial Intelligence with the ability if ethically used to contribute not only to the scientific and economic human progress but also stability of our societies in the context of eradication of EGTOs. The Cyber space has been a recruitment ground, an indoctrination center creating greater efficiency and increasing the productivity of their activities. While it remains un-legislated, un regularized in most jurisprudences, it becomes a safe haven for the EGTOs in the meantime. As a short-term measure, well-meaning collectives and governments could invest more in Cyber-Technology and Cyber-Intelligence to curtail the growing efforts. New partnerships and forms of collaborations must be formed to counter these efforts between State and Non-State Actors such as independent data centers as well as with research and knowledge facilities.

As a medium-term measure, well-meaning collectives and governments must be in positions to drive the online narrative and conversation appreciating new found values that advance the collective human progress and agenda. Engaging the drivers of these media- the Young People becomes a paramount strategy as they are the shapers and influencers in the digital world where government is only but a spectator. Investments and resources must be as generous as those that go towards wars, since the brain is the next battlefield as noted by the Neuroethicist, John Giordano.

As long-term measure, the following statistics as noted in the Global Technology Report 2015, should guide the leaders of governments and well-meaning collectives in bridging the digital intelligence gap globally.

  • 50% of the world’s population do not have mobile phones; 450 million people live out of reach of a mobile signal
  • 90% of the population in Low-Income countries and over 60% globally are not online yet
  • Most mobile phones are of an older generation
  • 4 Billion people lack internet access (over 50% of world population)
  • 3 Billion people still lack access to electricity (17% of the world population)

The challenges are as daunting as the opportunities are compelling, this therefore marks as a clarion call to create a shared sense of destiny across civilizations and nations. To reach out to the ones who are yet to be reached out to as a preventive strategy and educate them before they are indoctrinated and brainwashed into values that threaten the very existence of collective humanity. Cognizant of the political far-right movements in Europe and Western countries, the structures to be adopted for this actualization must be holistic, flexible and adaptive to continuously integrate many diverse interests and opinions for long-term stability of the human collective and undoubtedly eradicate EGTOs.

Kenya to the World: The test of our Diplomacy



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The pride of a people is held high among nations and is judged by the level of diplomacy held by the state. In the recent past, there have been efforts by Kenya to secure important positions and promote certain agenda at the multi-lateral level -the African Union and the United Nations. Most notable remain the campaign for the seat of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission and the infamous Shuttle Diplomacy campaign that sought to postpone action for a period of 12 months  against the Ocampo six as the most culpable suspects of the 2007/08 post election violence to allow for local trials through a national judicial mechanism. Both of which, the result did not return the favor of Kenya’s intentions and efforts.  A notable success however was that Kenya co-chaired and led the negotiation process that culminated to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals passed in September 2015. A pending and looming challenge ahead, is to secure the Non-Permanent Membership to the United Nation Security Council (2021-2022) as expressed by the Cabinet Secretary in the First Media Briefing on March 8, 2018.

As Kenya prepares for it, we must ask: what have we learnt from the other attempts that can augment our creative diplomacy approach this time around? While the answer to that question is in the minds of the thinkers and strategists in government, a few factors can be analyzed to shape and direct the diplomatic paint brushes to ‘lupitaize’ the world once again with Kenyan our beauty, pride and wits.

The  Dry Facts

There are 10 slots for the non-permanent seat, (five of which are elected each year by the General Assembly for a two-year term) with 3 going to African countries. Kenya has been a member of the United Nations since 16th December 1963 and has served on the Security Council non-permanent seat for 4 years cumulatively; between the years 1973-1974 and 1997-1998. By June 2020, Kenya would need to have bagged two-thirds of voting member states, or at least 129 votes if all 193 UN states cast a ballot. Currently, Ethiopia, Cote d’Ivore and Equitorial Guinea are the African Group representatives at the Security Council. It is worth noting that within the African countries, Nigeria and Egypt have served the longest for 10 years while Liberia and Equitorial Guinea have served for only a year. There are 68 countries that have never been represented at the Security Council out of which 11 are African. It is not known yet which other African Countries have expressed interest to the Non-permanent seat 2021-2022, however Afghanistan (for the Asia-Pacific region), Ireland, Canada and Norway (for the Western European Countries) -have already launched their campaigns to secure 2 spots.

Premises for the Campaign

This year marks a century since the end of the Great War (WWI); the period marked a transition from a multi-polar order to a bi-polar order. There is likely to be a change from unipolar to multipolar system with the emergence of new powers and balance of power in the International order. Dr. Henry Kissinger in a recent interview noted (in reference to the declining role of America in the world) that, “I think Trump might may be one of those figures who appears from time to time to mark the end of an era and to force it to give up its old pretenses. It doesn’t necessarily mean he is considering any great alternative. It could just be an accident.”


In view of this, Kenya’s leadership should begin by  consolidating regional support; the East Africa Integration process has had challenges which could cost the country political progression in the global community. While focus has previously been put on tangible infrastructure, much remains to be done in the intangible infrastructure and software that keeps the Community together. The varying socio-political systems in the member countries  inhibit the very idea of a political federation,  maybe a community premised on development cooperation  could prosper and perhaps an initiative to integrate the East Africa Community (EAC) with the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) to unite the Greater Horn of Africa Region as one block, with the help of Ethiopia’s rejuvenated leadership; this could be similar to the efforts to establish a Free Trade Area among the EAC, COMESA and SADC Blocks.


Alternative financing of the African Union Peace and Security Operations must be solved to distance the continental from donor fatigue and seek African Solutions for African Problems. Kenya must augment the Silencing the Guns Initiative of the African Union Commission to support the Africa Peace Fund in ending all conflicts in the continent by 2020 and realizing financial predictability and sustainability. This support could go along way to enhance the capacity of the country in innovative resource mobilization for Peace Operations, a concern facing the United Nations Organization, Peace Operations and Missions as well. Perhaps through the Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA) the government can mobilize finances to support the Fund in return for stability and economic advantage especially in Somalia and South Sudan.


With the group of 77 (G-77) with 134 members is the largest grouping of developing countries in the United Nations where it provides the means for the developing countries to articulate and promote their collective economic interests and enhance their joint negotiating capacity. Kenya could lobby support through Egypt (Current African Country Chairing) and develop a 2-year engagement framework with the next 2 Chairs for the years 2019-2020. This can be possible through the UN Conference on Trade and Development where the office of the Secretary General (Dr. Kituyi) can assist in promoting the South-South Trade links through Kenya’s leadership and programs. A key agenda for the developing countries is the UN Reforms- a common approach between the African Ezulwini position and the G-4 (Germany, Brazil, Japan, India) must be negotiated. The contrasts have led to unending cycles of compromise leading to a divided and weak reform agenda.


Joel Okwemba, Managing Director of the Centre for International and Security Affairs- A think tank based in Nairobi, Kenya.

Enhancing Public Interest in Foreign Affairs in Kenya: The Role of the Media



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The workshop on Enhancing Public Interest in Foreign Affairs in Kenya: The Role of the media, took place  at the Strathmore Law School campus, at the Sir Thomas building,Policy Innovation center, on April 18, 2018.

The workshop was organized by the Centre for International Security and Affairs (CISA) with the strategic aim of targeting the media to improve public awareness,more so those on the streets and rural areas, about international affairs and foreign policy. Despite local media reporting on international affairs, the knowledge gap between policymakers and the common man remains wide, and calls for a creative and innovative approach into shaping foreign policy as influenced by the views and spirits of the people.

Present were representatives from local media houses in Kenya, communication organs of various international organizations — the United Nations, diplomatic missions, academia and students. 

Download the full report using the link below

CISA Media Forum April 2018 Report




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The highly anticipated the Know Your World Initiative Program was held at the Starehe Boys’ Centre and School on 17th March 2018. The event was a joint initiative by Know Your World Initiative(KYWI), the Kenya National Commission for UNESCO (KNATCOM) and Octopizzo Foundation to highlight the progress of #SDGChallenge projects in the member schools, challenges and way forward as well as introduce the UNESCO Associated Schools Project Network (ASPNet) Program to the KYWI member schools.

The event was graced by KYWI member students and key guests from different stakeholder groups who encouraged and appreciated the KYWI students various contributions in making the world we live in more sustainable every day. The projects were initiated in the schools in 2017, where the students were required to identify projects aligned to existing SDGs and manage the Projects in real life to raise awareness on their selected goals. A total of 8 projects from 8 different schools were presented.

The full report can be accessed through the shared link below.

KYWI SDG March 2018 Report

THE NAIROBI INTERNATIONAL POLITICAL FORUM II (NIPFO II) Eastern Africa and Central Eastern European Relations



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The Nairobi International Political Forum (NIPFO) is a platform of the Centre for International and Security Affairs. With an outlook from the African perspective, NIPFO seeks to strengthen dialogues on international political issues, while exploring the future of the continent on identified thematic areas.

Central and Eastern European countries are beginning to rediscover their old relations with Africa. Over the last few years, CEE countries have established embassies and consulates here in Africa, an indicator of closer ties. But while recent developments show growing mutual interests between CEEs and East African countries, it is true that a stronger path to re-engagement will require a strategic approach on both sides, for sustainability and mutual benefit. This interest is growing and should continue as a way of building mutual trust, and a basis for expanding niche areas for cooperation

Despite some similarities and complementary interests, relations between Eastern Europe and those in the Eastern Africa over the years have not been very close. It is through these lenses that CISA organised NIPFO to identify the perspectives in the regions’ diplomatic relations. The NIPFO II forum was necessitated by the existing gap in the relations between Africa and CEEs. It was imperative to understand the history of the two regions and make necessary contributions that would lead to the building of current and future relations.

Click on the link below to access the Full Report on the Second Session of the Nairobi International Political Forum Eastern Africa and Central Eastern European Relations  held on 22nd November 2017 Nairobi, Kenya

NIPFO 2 Report on Eastern Africa and Central Eastern European Relations 2017

KYWI Refugees Awareness Week, 2016 #REFUGEENIUS




The know your world initiative held one of its activities for 3 rd term, refugee awareness week, from the 10th -14th of October 2016. The week was dubbed #Refugeenius, as proposed by our partner organizations Octopizzo Foundation and Xavier Project involved in the planning and execution of various  activities and interactive sessions.

The sessions took place within various high schools that the KYWI established,among them

Parklands Arya Girls High School, Upperhill High School, Moi Girls High School-Nairobi and Pangani Girls High School.

Each of these sessions were conducted having consent from Xavier Project, which sponsors of refugee students ’education in Kenyan high schools, as well as consent from the parents/guardians of the refugee students that were involved during the sessions.

The following report is a culmination of the in depth activities and sessions that took place. Find the link below.

Refugeenius Week Report 2016

He Named Me Malala; The Example of Malala, A call to Action!



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The Know Your World Initiative(KYWI) in its 8 week programme covers political social economic and cultural challenges faced by various countries around the world, by actively engaging the students from various schools in Kenyan simulation sessions that study and look for solutions to these challenges.

In line with this, the KYWI convened participating schools and universities, to experience Malala’s life through the heartening story that cuts across all boundaries, sex, race, gender, religion etc. The need for this was to highlight the plight of children and youth in countries experiencing violent conflicts in accessing education, with an aim of understanding the cost of conflict on children and youth. It was also as a way to inspire the youth, especially the girl child that they have the demonstrated capacity to set global agenda and create a conducive environment to realize their ideas.


For more information on the Malala story and impact  on Kenyan youths and children, download the PDF link below:

KYWI Malala Report




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The Nairobi International Political Forum (NIPFO) is a non-profit platform that seeks to strengthen dialogues on international political issues, while exploring futures of the African continent on identified thematic areas. The Nairobi International Political Forum held its first session on the 29th of July 2017, at the Best Western Plus Meridian Hotel in Nairobi, organized by the Center for International Security and Affairs (CISA), an independent think-tank based in Nairobi.

The forum was attended by participants from the diplomatic corps, government and academic influencers and personalities. The forum convened to examine the diplomatic, political, economic, social and cultural effects of the America First Policy and Brexit effect on Africa, East Africa and Kenya.

Download the report available in PDF format for more reading





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General elections in Kenya are a constant reminder of a deeply fractured social fabric in our republic.

The recently concluded general election under the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission has yet again unearthed our vices as a people.  Among them, our mistrust of public constitutionally mandated institutions and pre-existing mistrust amongst ethnic communities angling for power. Of most importance, the 2017 general election has more than ever highlighted the inherent characteristics of politics of identity. The declaration of the presidential results in favor of the incumbent President Uhuru Kenyatta, was in perspective a declaration in favor of the two main ethnic groups comprising of the Jubilee Alliance Party, whereas the loss of the opposition faction led by the former Prime Minister, is perceived to be a loss to the ethnic composition of the National Super Alliance coalition.

A defining tenet of identity politics is the notion of shared experiences of injustice of members of certain social groups. In the Kenyan case, the Northern, Western and Coastal regions have consistently expressed feelings of exclusion from the national government’s development and political agenda, and have for the past two presidential elections expressed this disenfranchisement by voting overwhelmingly for the opposition.  In many ways, the just concluded election has entrenched this perceived exclusion from national “benefits” with the loss of the presidential seat by the opposition coalition, yet again. Accordingly, a petition drawn by opposition strategists has thereby suggested secession of the perceived opposition zones into an autonomous, self-governing entity. Herein lays the challenge.

Discussions on self-determination are almost always fixated on territory, more than the people involved and affected by the process of seceding.  Boundaries drawn on maps are significantly more relevant than issues such as “identity”, whether national, linguistic, ethnic, or religious.[1] In essence, state-hood requires exclusive sovereignty over a distinct territory and people, exercised by an effective structure of authority.  The petitioner’s cause in Kenya must therefore be able to provide proof of the existence of a defined territory, a people within this territory and an effective structure of governance exercised over this “people” and the land they seek to make sovereign.

Secession is by principle a product of international law. Most treatises of international law still describe the “declaratory theory” as the dominant doctrine governing state practice. The declaratory theory requires that the party looking to secede get consent from the previous authority exercising sovereign power over the territory. In the Kenyan case, the section seeking to secede must therefore get consent from the Kenyan government, which has sovereign authority over all territory covered by the sate.

Often described as a violent process, secession is perceived by most states in the world to be a severe threat to international order and a menace to the orderly development of statehood in the nation states constituting the international society[2]. Accordingly, there exists a strong bias against secession in state practice.  In the event that the petition to secede is successful, the new government would instantaneously be faced with the challenge of international recognition as a sovereign entity, by a state system that is already hostile to secessionist movements across the world. A case example is the Biafra region in South Eastern Nigeria, whose attempts at secession have been unsuccessful.

Secession does not usually solve the political problems lying beneath the surface, but often tends to escalate the situation. Claims of secession regularly produce counterclaims of secession of smaller sub-entities, and leads to endless conflicts over territory and boundaries.   However, claims to self-determination do not disappear, but continue to grow in vehemence, and if the underlying socio-political and economic problems are not resolved, may eventually lead to a new reconfiguration of the state, irrespective of the legitimacy of such claims.

The petitioners in Kenya will have immense domestic and international legal hurdles to overcome, if the petition is to be successful.  As country, we may be better place to explore the opportunities granted by a progressive constitution in which devolution of national power has been granted.  The uncertainties and almost imminent failure of a secessionist movement bear greater consequences than we may be ready to face as a country at this point and time.


[1] Castellino Joshua, “Self-Determination and Secession in International Law” p.44

[2] Oeter Stefan, “Self-Determination and Secession in International Law”, p.58

To farm or not to farm: What opportunities exist for youth to prosper in agriculture and agro-business?



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The youths are always touted as the leaders of tomorrow and innovators of the future, but their consideration as future farmers and successful agri-business entrepreneurs who will drive Africa from surviving to sustainability has received little attention. Sustainable Development Goal 2 seeks to end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture. Achieving this goal will help solve the chronic food insecurity issues in the region, reduce poverty and create employment that will spur development and economic growth in the continent. However to realize this goal there is the need for all stakeholders (Governments, agricultural Companies and learning institutions and parents) to endorse youth participation in agriculture. This is because youths form the majority of the population, have brilliant ideas and creative innovations and provide the largest market for food consumption. The opportunities that exist for the youth in agri-business is limitless, the biggest challenge is changing their negative attitude towards agriculture and subsequently getting them into farming.

Today’s youths are driven by the desire to make fast money and wealth accumulation. Agri-business however needs a lot of patience, thus the first opportunity is to educate the youth on how to grow cash crops and export crops that are easily mechanized, grows faster and gives profitable returns over short periods. Additionally, Government efforts in eliminating export cartels as well as local cartels will enable the young farmers to directly transact with the agricultural companies buying their produce and thus the payment comes directly to their bank accounts, boosting their incentives to farm more. Youths shy away from agriculture because of perceived low economic returns thus good profits will lure them to farming.

Given the rise of fast food joints in Kenya and East Africa, youths in the urban centres can take advantage of the little space they have to build burglar proof chicken coops or chicken houses and rear chicken and other poultry that they can then supply to these fast food joints. Another opportunity is to encourage Government institutions as well as County Governments to award tenders to young farmers to be suppliers of agricultural produce to be used in the feeding Civil Servants as well as during luncheons and state dinners, as well as supply of flowers and other office plants.

However, while acknowledging the opportunities that exists efforts should be geared to involve young farmers as primary stakeholders in drafting/revising agricultural related policies, laws and regulations. The Introduction of Agribusiness as a common course in all the universities will educate young farmers on emerging smart farming practices and profitable agribusiness production that will elicit their desire to engage in farming while still in campus and inspire them to become profitable farmers.

African youths are literate, hardworking and trained to identify opportunities, therefore given the right farming knowledge, equipped with  modern agricultural skills and molded with the right attitude African youths can take a ‘FIRM STAND TO FARM’

How the youth can strengthen Accountability in Achieving the SDGs



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“The future of humanity and of our planet lies in our hands. It lies also in the hands of today’s younger generation who will pass the torch to future generations. We have mapped the road to sustainable development; it will be for all of us to ensure that the journey is successful and its gains irreversible[1] –United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Young people have a very important role to play in shaping the future of the planet as well as global development. The essence of this essay is to help understand the role young people can play in achieving sustainable development, the hindrances they face and the way forward as we move to a poverty free world and a secure planet.

The United Nations 17 Goals and 169 targets on Sustainable Development, based on the agenda ‘Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development‘, is a global plan of action for ending poverty, securing a safe planet and prosperity for all[2]. Indeed, extreme poverty is the greatest hindrance to achieving sustainable development. However, Agenda 2030 seeks to incorporate all countries and various stakeholders who will be involved in collaborative partnerships to help eradicate extreme poverty and achieve other human rights, over the next 15 years until the year 2030.

UN Sustainable Development Goal 17, states that to achieve the desired goals there is the need to “Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development”[3]. This is done through The Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation (GPEDC), which is a high level forum that brings together development actors such as the governments, bilateral and multilateral organizations, civil societies and other stakeholders for effective development cooperation. The aim of the Global Partnership is then to come up with innovative and inclusive partnerships, expertise policies that can help accelerate achieving the SDGs as well as increase transparency and accountability between development actors.

But why stress on the need for accountability one may ask? SDG 16 and its subsequent Target 16.6, greatly emphasizes on the need to develop effective, accountable and transparent institutions at all levels. It is important to note that Countries and other development actors have made Effective Development Cooperation commitments, however not all countries fulfill these commitments and thus the need to push for accountability arises. Accountability and transparency will ensure that all the stakeholders act on their pledges, stick to commitments as well as enhance SDGs implementation, review and assess impact. There are three important ways young people can be involved in strengthening for accountability.

Knowledge of SDGs

Knowledge is power, and so young people should study the SDGs in detail as they can only demand accountability for that which they know. Young people should know what the Sustainable Development Goals are? What’s in stake for them?  Who the stakeholders are? What are the commitments of the stakeholders? How global partnerships with the various stakeholders can yield the needed development results? And how can the young people take ownership of the developmental process?  It is only when equipped with such information on SDGs, that young people can eventually criticize, participate and contribute towards the achievement of SDGs. A tailored youth language about the SDGs is the first step in educating the youths on what the SDGs really mean. If the SDGs are delivered in a language that they understand and relate to they will finally realize that it is no longer an issue to be addressed by governments only and in CSOs boardrooms, but a conversation that can take place every day in the streets, in schools and on the internet.

Another initiative would be to popularize the SDGs mobile phone APP among the youth. The SDGs app has not been popularized like WhatsApp or Instagram, thus popularizing the app will enable youths to learn about the SDGs, find out what they can do to achieve them, create their own events and invite others to join in and take sustainable actions.

 Power of the Hashtags and Social Media

The internet is a powerful tool young people can use to strengthen for accountability through advocacy and online activism. Social media is very crucial as it can act as the official “Spokesperson” and “watchdog” and therefore conversations focused on how young people can help strengthen for accountability rather than on why they can’t is a step in the right direction. Because young people understand the power of the hashtags and they can employ it to track performance and commitment of development practitioners. Trending powerful hashtags now and again that are very relatable and cannot be ignored will elicit global reactions and mobilize more people to want to join in the SDGs debate. Global media spotlight will then pile pressure on governments and stakeholders who will be propelled to act towards more accountability and transparency and eventually translate to the achievement of SDGs goals and targets.

Create the Youth Space

The youths need to be given space and be equally engaged as stakeholders.  Governments should provide an enabling environment and create youth policies where transparency and accountability can be addressed without fear of victimization or injustices. When given space the youths will play a role in supporting implementation, improving the effectiveness, quality and impact of development cooperation as well increased innovative partnerships.

In conclusion, pushing for accountability and transparency is just a step in the right direction but it is a drop in the ocean, when there is no political will. Nonetheless, like the many youths of my generation, I will keep on demanding for accountability for SDGs and youth development as we embark on this collective journey towards a poverty free world.



  1. UN General Assembly Resolution 70/1, Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development A/RES/70/1, (25 September 2015)


[1]  UN General Assembly Resolution 70/1, Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development A/RES/70/1, (25 September 2015) Paragraph No. 53

[2] Ibid Preamble of UN General Assembly Resolution 70/1

[3] Ibid SDG Goal 17

The America We Knew versus the America We Know- Post 2016 Elections Reality



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Kenya and the United States have had great bilateral relations post-independence and heightened during the inauguration of the current President Barack Obama, largely due to his heritage which is traced to Kogelo, Siaya County. The face of America, 2009, which now became familiar not just to the residents of Kogelo but the entire nation and the continent in extension brewed a spirit of courage to many who finally believed that America held the aspirations of the world in trust and commendation. The visit by President Obama, in 2015 saw the enthusiasm by Kenyans to host him, the GES 2016 also expressed interest by U.S. Corporations to invest and establish businesses in Kenya. Other notable visits were by US Secretary of State, John Kerry in 2015 and 2016 as well as the then Secretary of state, Hillary Clinton in 2012.  The U.S since has been ranked highly in attitudes and perceptions for instance the Pew Research Centre 2016 Global Indicators Database[1]  and the GfK Global Nation Branding Survey 2015[2] coming first in both.

America, founded under the principles of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness has premised her space in the international system over time as a leader in:

  • Equality
  • Respect for universal values at home and around the world
  • Promotion of peace, security, and opportunity through stronger cooperation to meet global challenges
  • Democracy and the rule of law
  • Science, Technology and Innovation
  • A strong, innovative, and growing U.S. economy in an open international economic system that promotes opportunity and prosperity;
  • Religious Freedom and Diversity;

However, the 2016 Presidential Election Campaign season has crafted a new perception of the U.S. politics in the eyes of many who have been following the race. The democratic and republican campaigns have on both sides made undeliberate attempts to strip the US People, Institutions and Democracy naked, leading to a perceived lack of faith and trust in some of the core values held by the U.S. such as Freedom, Liberty and Democracy. Key to note are the statements made by both Presidential candidates: Hillary Clinton[3] according to CNN “To just be grossly generalistic, you can put half of Trump supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables. Right? Racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic, you name it.” Donald Trump on elections stated “Remember, we are competing in a rigged election. They even want to try and rig the election at the polling booths, where so many cities are corrupt and voter fraud is all too common[4].”

While these perceptions cannot be quantified at the moment, the impact has been made.  The unexpected visit by Malik Obama, the President’s brother- sponsored by the Republican Campaign has also pronounced the private life of the Obama’s family, his support for Republican candidate Donald Trump caused some resentment among the family and from some in the society. Furthermore, on social media, a twitter hastag #MakeKenyaGreatAgain[5] inspired by Donald Trump’s Make America Great Again Campaign message, comparing the U.S. and Kenya situations was trending this past weekend. On the Election Day, 8th November 2016, hashtag #AmericaDecides was trending as people criticizing and praising the process altogether. Ushahidi- A Kenyan based organization is now the first from Kenya to U.S. to begin monitoring the elections, tracking incidences of any vote repression, voter intimidation, misdirection and any incidents of violence according to the guardian[6].

Concluding Concerns

Have the perceptions of the U.S by Kenyans shifted following the 2016 presidential elections and to what extent have the perceptions shifted, influenced the youth and students’ choices for American education, work and life of their futures.  Secondly, what is the strength of American values among Kenyans post 2016 elections?. Lastly, to what degree has the American 2016 presidential campaigns impacted the political, economic and social activities of Kenyans and Kenya at large.  Only time will tell.









Digital Extremism



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A look into virtual radicalization

On May 2016, two Kenyan nationals Salwa Abdalla and Twafiqa Dahir fled Kenya to Join the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL) also known simply as IS. The two girls who were friends from Nairobi, South C a relatively middle upper class resident simply disappeared from their comfortable home to war torn Syria.

With the social media boom and access to the internet, radicalization and operational planning of terrorist easily takes place virtually. The failure to identify patterns and behavior of young vulnerable teens online underscores the threat within.

But what really invokes these young literate girls like Salwa and Twafiqa to leave their comfortable homes and join ISIS the number one classified terrorist organization by the United States.  There is need to understand their logical thinking and the desire to partake in such dangerous escapades and therefore www.IS.com/Readitfull

The Missing Link



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Growing up in Kenya, I was told education was ‘THE’ key to success. Parents would strive to take their children to some of the most expensive schools they could afford and children would in return work hard on their part to make sure that the parents investment were duly returned or at least show their parents that the fees paid were not in vain. Fast forward to when the child finishes school with a very marketable degree and then there is no job and whatever the few available jobs that are there are reserved for the children of the few elite whether or not they went through school or education per say. It is at this particular moment that the student and the parent realize that education was not ‘the’ key to success but indeed just ‘one’ of the ingredients needed to succeed. And then the question that follows is where is the problem, and who is to blame for the lack of jobs and the now unemployed and branded half baked graduates and what will happen to the mass number of graduates who toss their graduation caps every year and are spilled onto the non-existent job market, the question that burns is what is the missing link??

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The Kenyan education system usually places a heavy burden on the student. To begin with since primary school all through to the university, students are taught to be like memory cards. Information is transferred for cramming and storage in preparation for exams, to a point where the student has the immense power of cramming but lacks the power of knowledge. After the exams what remains is subsequently erased by the excitement ‘virus’ of graduating and ultimately finishing the 8-4-4 system. Because the information on the memory card is insufficient or is blank the students are later referred to as half baked graduates and denied opportunities by the very same organizations that probably made numerous trips to the schools and universities giving motivational talks and encouraging students to work hard and giving them hope of one day joining them, the irony of life.




Every three months in Kenya a University celebrates a graduation, but no new jobs are created after every three months, therefore it means that these graduates who are all learned and ready to make change on the country are left stranded with nothing to do but stare at their phones all day doing nothing but taking selfies and making sex tapes in the hope of attracting a large number of views that just maybe could make them famous and give them the much needed breakthrough.  For others who are also bitter with the system are easily lured to various means of surviving including theft and joining the Al Shaabab. Probably the government has not yet realized that the most dangerous person is that learned graduate who is smart, idle and bitter, because that is the person who is capable of destroying Kenya and that is why these youths are a soft target for rogue and power hungry politicians.

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It absolutely makes no sense if one can take 12 years in school, spend millions of shillings on education and then come and be forced to participate in nation building through activism and ranting on twitter and Face book. Let’s create space for the youths; no one was born with the title of a CEO or MD on their necks. It therefore means that no job was permanently designed for anyone. It boggles the mind to see 70 year olds battling for their retirement age while millions of youths are struggling to get jobs. It is not justifiable whichever way you might want to look at it.  The government should learn that recycling old politicians and giving them jobs because of experience is not the way to run a country. In a highly evolving world you do not need experience to run a country you need new progressive ideas, ideas that are futuristic in nature and not shortsighted because someone somewhere wants to get into power just before their age elapses.

Kenya has developed a habit of treating the youths as second rate citizens and this is absolutely building a war chest that might be really catastrophic. Something has to be done and it has to be done quick otherwise a generation is at stake. The government, the youth and all stakeholders must sit down, deliberate and find THE MISSING LINK.




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What comes to your mind when you see a gun, a threat or a defensive mechanism. Well in this light it depends on whose hands the gun is in, the good guy or the bad guy. But who is the good guy and who is the bad guy? That can be a contentious debate, mostly because even a perceived good guy with a gun can cause harm just like the obvious bad guy. The issue of guns in Kenya got my attention since I have been a victim of an armed robbery, I have cried with families who lost family members through gun violence, and most recently a colleague was carjacked at gun point, his vehicle stolen and wife kidnapped. This is a sad state of our security.army-guns

Gun deaths in Kenya rose from 1,282 in 2007 to 2,761 in 2012. There are between 530,000-680,000 privately owned firearms in Kenya, ranked 61 out of 178 countries in the number of privately owned guns. Kenya has 45,288 firearms in the defense forces and 42,000 in the police. The regulation of guns in Kenya is categorized as restrictive.Applicants for a gun owner’s licence in Kenya are required to establish a genuine reason to possess a firearm, for example personal protection.An applicant for a firearm license in Kenya must pass a background check which considers criminal, mental health, and domestic violence.

The death toll from small arms dwarfs that of all other weapons systems — and in most years greatly exceeds the toll of the atomic bombs that devastated Hiroshima and Nagasaki. In terms of the carnage they cause, small arms, indeed, could well be described as ‘weapons of mass destruction’.” — Kofi Annan, UN Secretary-General, March 2000.


The following is the procedure that any member of the public who wishes to apply for a license to hold a firearm will follow as provided for in the Firearms Act Cap 114 Laws of Kenya.

  • The applicant must obtain from the local Officer Commanding Police Station prescribed forms (Form 1) and fill them in duplicate. The OCS will assist the applicant to complete the forms after which the applicant will be handed over the duplicate copy which he/she should forward to the Central Firearms Bureau at the following address:
  • The original copy will be retained by the OCS who will forward it to the Officer Commanding Police Division (OCPD). The OCPD will make a comprehensive recommendation on the applicant which will be deliberated on by the District Security Committee (DSC) and the Provincial Security Committee (PSC). The application will be forwarded to the Commissioner of Police for approval.
  • The Chief Licensing Officer will then write a reply to the applicant informing him/her the decision arrived at and the next course of action.
  • The firearm certificate is renewable annually.

Despite the tough conditions for acquiring civilian firearms in Kenya, some holders with a questionable past have managed to secure licenses. Investigations have shown that no thorough vetting is done before the applicants are issued with such licenses. Applicants must pass background checks which consider criminal and mental checks.According to the annual report to parliament on the state of national security 2015,  President Uhuru Kenyatta, cited proliferation of small arms and light weapons as a major threat to national security of Kenya. This is due to the high number of non -state actors in possession of illegal firearms who use them to perpetuate crime.

It is about time that Kenya and the international community gets its act together on gun control measures. It has taken over 33,600 deaths for countries such as the United States to push for strict and tough gun regulations. The law in the United States is different, whereby the regulation of guns in the United States is categorized as permissive, therefore making it easier for people to own guns.

Recently, Senate democrats filibustered for 15 hours to get a vote from their republican counterparts to push for gun legislation  through two bills that would require; a ban on terrorism subjects from buying a gun and; close a loophole that lets people buy weapons from gun shops or on the internet without a background check. This also saw members of the congress from the democrats’ party hold a sit in for over 24 hours in the house to push for more stringent measures on gun control.

In an effort to address proliferation of illicit arms policies such as the national policy on small arms and light weapons, small arms and light weapons control and management bill, and the arms trade treaty have been put forward. However, these policies need to show positive results, especially on destruction of illicit firearms, and bring to justice with tough penalties those in possession of illicit firearms. In this way we hope for less crimes, deaths and gun related violence in our country.


BY MWAI LABAN.-mwailaban@gmail.com





Annual Report to Parliament on The State of National Security- 26th march 2015

Disclaimer: Views expressed in this article does not represent the views of CISA



Kenyan Youth and Foreign Policy



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The place of the youth in the Foreign Policy of Kenya

The foreign policy of Kenya has been hinged on the agenda of the pursuit of ‘A peaceful, prosperous and globally competitive Kenya’ aimed “To project, promote and protect Kenya’s interests and image globally through innovative diplomacy, and contribute towards a just, peaceful and equitable world”. Therefore Kenya seeks to promote and safeguard national, regional and international peace and security and protect its sovereignty and borders.

Kenya’s President has made a large number of trips in a bid to seek and strengthen bilateral relations, foster regional integration and support strategic partnerships at the continental and multilateral levels. After embarking on 43 foreign visits in the past three years since taking office, Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta has made a mockery of his predecessor Mwai Kibaki who made a grand total of 33 foreign visits in the decade that he was President of Kenya. This has led to him being labeled as the “Tourist” president by his critics. The cost of these trips have been a burden to taxpayers with the controller of budget capping the cost of the presidency’s foreign trips at Sh1.2 billion in the financial year that ended in June 2015. The large entourages that also accompany him have particularly raised eyebrows, as the senior civil servants pocket hefty allowances with little to show in return for the foreign forays.obama-kenya

However despite the criticism the president has not come back empty handed. Some of the perceived gains from the president’s globetrotting  have been Grants, zero-interest loans, concessional financing and commercial loans worth a total of $60 billion from China, a $200-million agreement between Kenya and the World Bank for clean water in Mombasa and all manner of assurances for infrastructure projects  as well as a list of MoUs, agreements and pacts. However, the benefit of these trips to the Kenyan youth who forms 60% of the population is yet to be seen or felt.

Kenya, seeks in finding lasting solutions to conflict and terrorism activities for a free and secure world. But what the government doesn’t want to take heed of is that these terrorism activities are carried out by  the youth who have lost hope and patience in a system that is designed to label them as failures. It would therefore be prudent that the youth agenda should form a large part of President Uhuru’s key issues in the numerous trips he undertakes.

The president should be able to come up with scholarships opportunities for students to study abroad given the poor state of our current education system and the politics involved in changing it. This should be somewhat similar to the JFK scholarships and the airlift of African students in the 1960s,that was responsible for bringing a new crop of political leaders who were development conscious and nationalist at heart. Similar venture by Uhuru Kenyatta in today’s world will not only provide Kenyan youth with the opportunity to further their studies but will also increase a large pool of human talent  and innovativeness that once through with their studies they can come back to Kenya and improve the country’s situation. As he also markets the tourism sector President Kenyatta should look for ways to market the Kenyan youth on the global world, increase opportunities for them in International and multilateral organizations as well as encourage the movement of Kenyan laborers abroad.

By undertaking to push the youth agenda as part of his foreign policy the President shall be able to solve unemployment issues as well as insecurity issues in the country. This will be a big win for him,  his administration and also secure the future of the country.

Disclaimer: Views Expressed in this article do not represent the views of CISA





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Kenya’s oil pipeline loss to Uganda is another loss to Corruption, Insecurity

When President Uhuru Kenyatta declared corruption a national security threat and ordered private companies to sign approved code of conduct to transact business with government, he probably knew the country had lost a lot to graft but certainly didn’t know it would cost his administration a partnership with Uganda to construct an oil pipeline.

During the Summit of the East African Community bloc in Kampala mid this month, Uganda made its final decision on the oil pipeline deal, preferring 1,410-Km Kabaale-Tanga route at Sh13 trillion to Kenya’s 1,120Km Hoima-Lokichar-Lamu route at Sh14.9 trillion.

Whereas Uganda’s national interests and business projections by Total East Africa Company had considerable influence, corruption and its cumulative effect also contributed to this.

A few steps back. In 2007, a number of international oil companies that for long dominated Kenya’s oil business were marginalized, and replaced by Libya’s Tamoil, which dominated the sector after securing two major deals with the government. Tamoil East Africa Limited was awarded a contract to construct a pipeline from Eldoret to Kampala in Uganda. This was after the same company won the rights to build a Sh6 billion liquid petroleum gas (LPG) storage facility in Mombasa. The company was also to invest Sh3 billion in upgrading the Mombasa refinery, which was not done. The pipeline deal came under fire in the local media following allegations of corrupt dealings during the negotiations.

It was also alleged that Tamoil East Africa did not have capacity to complete the deal: It emerged that the company had never made a profit and that its share capital was one million euro, not one billion euro as it had indicated. Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni consequently ordered investigations on the firm. It is Kenya that recommended the company to Uganda. Due to lack of capacity, the contracts, including one to extend the pipeline to Kigali were all cancelled.

Uganda certainly wouldn’t have gambled with its new pipeline with Kenya, again. There is also the insecurity issue that Total East Africa, the financier of Uganda’s oil pipeline raised. In fact, it is a diverse set of security threats that would adversely affect the proposed transit through Kenya.  Following Kenya’s 2007-08 post-electoral violence, Ugandan food prices shot up by 15 per cent, highlighting its vulnerability and that of the region, in depending on Mombasa port and the Kenya-Uganda railway.

Given Kenya’s uncertain political environment, Uganda is unconvinced that a repeat of that will not happen.  The collapse of Kenyan ICC cases, which was blamed on bribery, witness intimidation and elimination, did no better to improve that uncertainty.  There was/is also the Mombasa Republican Council, a group pushing for the secession of the “Pwani” region. It has gained support from residents opposed to the development of the Mombasa and Lamu ports. They, therefore, given their grievances are yet to be resolved, pose a threat to any other development region. That is another risk Uganda and Total E.A wouldn’t want to take. A distinct but equally important security risk is the threat posed by al Shabaab in Kenya, evidenced by attacks in Nairobi, Garissa and Mombasa.

Oil companies will need to first, ensure the personal safety of their workers, as well as minimise the risk of oil infrastructure and installations becoming terrorist targets. This is especially pertinent given Lamu’s proximity to the Somali border and Boni forest which have already experienced kidnappings of foreigners. This could extensively delay completion of the pipeline.

On completion, Lamu Port area would require high levels of maritime security in order to avoid oil cargo ships becoming prey to piracy attacks. That is additional operational cost.  It shouldn’t be forgotten that the increase of terrorist activities in Kenya have greatly been hinged on corrupt officials at the border points and within our security agencies.

Oil companies involved could also have considered how developing oil infrastructure would affect regional tensions within the EAC, based on their diplomatic relations and history. The export challenge has already raised geopolitical issues with which oil companies, if they choose to get involved, will have to wade through. Tensions have been rising between Uganda and Kenya not only over the Migingo Island issues, but also over the role that each will play in the region’s oil business. Such competitive dynamics are not conducive to the new venture.

It can only be seen how oil and the political dynamics of the East African countries will shape the relations of the community moving forward.




Wildlife Security



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Wildlife security is nothing new especially in Africa. It’s almost a daily issue. As daily as an increase in fuel prices. For most people, wildlife security is about erecting an electric fence around wild animals to ‘protect them’  from scary people a.k.a poachers. Wildlife security as other people would say is protecting our heritage as Africans. Both parties are not wrong though wildlife security is much more than that.

Wildlife security is a just part of a large scale issue known as Environmental security(which is my niche). W.S or wildlife security does not only include the welfare of wildlife and conservation efforts it also shows how human beings can gain from the existence of these majestic creatures we are striving oh so hard to protect. For now I will not dive into that but take you to another interesting matter. Let’s call this matter Jessica Climate Change.

Jessica Climate Change may have affected each one of us in interesting ways and may have even played a role in upsetting biodiversity some way or another but how did Jessica Climate Change come to be? I will tell you. Human nature. Human nature is selfish. Human nature is greedy. Human nature drives human beings to doing awful things such as slavery, ethnic cleansing and other awful things you can imagine. The worst thing it has done is to control nature in the name of development. Destroying everything in your way for the sake of ‘better lives’ but to what extent is this quest for development. Why clear out a whole ecosystem to pave way for a new solution to end world poverty. What’s the point in that?

You see human nature creates all sorts of scary problems which we think can be solved by nature or technology. That’s not the case. That brings us back to wildlife security and climate change. Some people may blame climate change to the decrease in scenic beauty created by wildlife. I don’t buy that. The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment doesn’t buy that either. I don’t know about you.

What I do know is that wildlife.. nature has a way of fighting back and its never really a sight for sore eyes. Wouldn’t you fight back when pushed to the wall? Take care of your environment and it will take care of you.

For More Info please mail:

cindy19132@gmail.com or Cindy Wambua (LinkedIn)

Disclaimer: This Article does not Represent the Opinions of the Organization but the author.

Next US President!



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The next US president may face an international economic crisis—but all the candidates are clueless about globalization

For at least a generation now, the line between what happens in the American economy and the world outside has been disappearing. Now it’s virtually gone. Economic growth, good jobs, wage inequality, the shaky condition of our banks, the size and ethnic composition of our population, contagious diseases, pressures on our schools and universities—these are just some aspects of our lives that are affected by international trade, foreign currency gyrations and the state of economies abroad. In one way or another, economic developments beyond our borders will affect most every American worker, everyone who has a mortgage or buys a car, every retiree dependent on investments, every student who takes out a loan, every company that is affected by the price level, every city and town that borrows money or takes in immigrants.

To make matters more challenging, the pace of globalization is soaring. Within a decade the total flows across sovereign borders of goods such as autos and machinery, services such as engineering and legal advice, and capital used for trading and investment will have increased three times compared to 2012, according to the McKinsey Global Institute. If international patterns of the past few years are any indication, everything from Internet traffic, to climate change, to the movement of refugees, skilled labor and students is sure to expand exponentially. Consider this example: Facebook, which started up as recently as 2004, now reaches 1 in 7 people on the planet. On one day last summer, August 27, 1 billion people across the globe used the service on the same day.

Those who would occupy the White House have discussed these issues in only a cursory and mostly negative way. Virtually all candidates have hostile feelings toward new trade agreements. You might expect that sentiment from Donald Trump, who boats he will take a sledgehammer to our trading partners, and also from Bernie Sanders, who seems to equate international commerce with all the problems besetting the American workforce. But even Hillary Clinton, who as Secretary of State helped to negotiate a massive trade deal with Asia, and who praised it lavishly while in office, has turned against her own achievements. The candidates compete for who can bash the global banks harder. The debate over immigration is poisoned by extreme positions. Most of them give the impression of wanting to turn the clock back to an older, simpler world of many generations ago when the US could go it alone or else call all the shots.

It cannot be done. Globalization began some 60,000 years ago, when a number of families walked out of Africa to find food and security. There have been pauses in the trend, such as during the middle ages, and even some interruptions, such as the period between the two world wars in the 20th century. Globalization has been beset by wars, depressions and horrendous natural disasters. But whatever the swerves and setbacks, the inexorable direction and momentum has been towards a smaller and more interconnected world.

Whoever wins the election will confront this reality. He or she will have their hands full developing strategies, negotiating agreements, strengthening global institutions, and increasing America’s ability to fiercely compete. It will be a daunting agenda, even for a skilled and experienced White House team who understands how the world really works.

To begin with, there are trade and environmental treaties that are in midstream and need attending. There are long term investments of US companies like GE, Boeing, and Microsoft to protect, and hundreds of thousands of small- and medium-sized firms that need Uncle Sam’s support to sell into foreign markets. There is American intellectual property to guard, economic sanctions against Moscow to manage, money laundering of terrorists to combat. There are foreign companies whose eagerness to set up shop here and create new jobs in America needs facilitating, and there are governors, congressmen and senators to work with, many who won’t stop pushing for their constituents’ interests in taking advantage of the global economy.

Second, the next American president may well face an international economic crisis. The number of very real possibilities in the not-too-distant future is chilling. The Chinese economy could crash, sending destabilizing ripples to every corner of the globe. The European Union, our most important trading and financial ally, could come apart. Oil prices could continue their slide, or alternatively, a major terrorist operation in Saudi Arabia could cause a highly disruptive price escalation, either development causing a market meltdown. One or more big developing nations such as Brazil could require a massive bailout, or a gigantic bank, such as Germany’s Deutsche Bank, could experience a crisis—all resulting in market turmoil far worse than what we are now seeing. A cyber attack could paralyze the New York Stock Exchange or even the Federal Reserve in Washington, upending our financial system. It is no longer far-fetched that the world could enter another deep recession. In any of these situations, Washington will become totally preoccupied with its engagement in the global economy, and a new national agenda will arise almost overnight.

A third, more positive scenario is also possible. In my new book, From Silk to Silicon: The Story of Globalization Through Ten Extraordinary Lives, I have shown how major advances in globalization have occurred over the last thousand years to improve our lives by quantum leaps. These achievements led to higher living standards, greater choices in our everyday experiences, and expanded political freedoms. I tell the tales of massive breakthroughs: the origins of seaborne exploration, the beginnings of global finance, the start of the industrial age with its mind-boggling technological advances, the initiation of global philanthropy, the story of how Europe rose from the ashes of World War II and created a community of prosperous and closely integrated nations, the sparks that set off the Internet and digital revolutions, the reversal of Maoism and the opening of China to the world.

In the next decade we are likely to see developments of equal magnitude as intelligent robots, 3D printing, advanced sensors nanotechnology and medical miracles spread across the spectrum of nations. Moreover, international markets will be stimulated by the entrance of over a billion eager consumers into the world economy, and hyper-urbanization that will be adding to the world the equivalent of several New York Cities every year for decades. A new president will be challenged to embrace these changes in a way that promotes American leadership, and to develop trade, financial and regulatory policies that insure that the widest possible swath of American citizens substantially benefit from these developments.

Views Expressed in this article do not represent the views of CISA

Vote Jamaica 2016



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On February 25, 2016, Jamaicans go to the polls to vote for the party that will be forming the government for the next 4-5 years. This will be the 17th general elections in the history of the country since Universal Adult Suffrage was granted in 1944. Elections are constitutionally due every 5 years in Jamaica, with the Prime Minister having the authority to announce the date of elections any time before the end of the period. With that being said, elections were due by the end of December 2016. Therefore, campaign activities began in September 2015, particularly by the two major political parties; the People’s National Party (PNP) and the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP). An updated voter’s list was published by the Electoral Office of Jamaica in November 2015, which has approximately 1.8 million voters. However, voter apathy is high , therefore both parties have increased campaign activities and have been smearing each other so as to persuade Jamaicans to be involved in the democratic process and support their party,

On January 31st, 2016, the People’s National Party and the ruling party held a national meeting in Half-Way-Tree square, at which the party president and Prime Minister, the Most Honourable Portia Simpson-Miller, announced the February 25th, 2016 election date. Significant to Jamaica’s political culture is that the period in which an election should be held is fixed, but it is at the discretion of the Prime Minister when the election is to be held during the five year period. Elections so far in Jamaica’s political history have been a few months in advance. At the meeting in Half-Way-Tree also, the Prime Minister announced that cabinet would be dissolved on February 5, 2016 and that candidates will be nominated on February 9, 2016. There are 63 constituencies in Jamaica and on nomination day 152 candidates were nominated. Sixty-three candidates were nominated for the PNP and JLP, 7 candidates for the National Democratic Movement (NDM), 9 from other parties (New Nation Coalition, Marcus Garvey People’s Progressive Party) and 10 independent candidates.

Since the announcement of the dates campaign activities have increased with both major parties having mass meetings/rallies at least three times per week with the main speakers being the party president and party leader for the PNP and JLP respectively. Jamaica has had a history of political violence during election periods. Therefore, following the ruling party’s meeting in Half-Way-Tree, the JLP held a meeting in Montego Bay, one week later, during which persons were shot and killed and others injured. However, the police ruled that the incident was not politically motivated but it caused both parties to smear at each other even more. The Political Ombudsman has pleaded with both parties to encourage their supporters to refrain from acts of violence and all candidates have signed a “Code of Conduct”. As part of the political culture there is a leadership debate prior to the election, at which journalists ask leaders from the two major parties questions and they respond. However, going into this 2016 election, there will be no debates for varying reason. One such reason is that the ruling party wants the debates to be in a ‘Town Hall’ format similar to that in the United States of America. It is perceived that the debates help the undecided voters to make a decision on how to vote, but on the other hand it may just be cultural activity as persons have already made their decision, whether PNP, JLP or will refrain from voting.

Pollsters and political analyst/commentators have conducted a few research and forecast on this 2016 election. An article in the Gleaner dated February 7, 2016 referenced a November 2015 forecast outlining a favourability to the PNP but was still close at 50/50 probability of either party winning. It also highlighted that the PNP president and Prime Minister, Portia Simpson-Miller, was greater accepted than the JLP leader, Andrew Holness, by their party “die hards”. However, it was also noted in this forecast that voter turn-out will remain low, below 50%. This research was conducted by Christopher Charles, a senior lecturer in Political Philosophy and Gleasia Reid, a MPhill/PhD student in Political Science, both at the University of the West Indies, Mona. They further projected in the Gleaner their results for the election that PNP will win 40 seats (9 garrisons, 25 traditional, 6 marginal), and JLP 25 seats (4 garrisons, 11 traditional, 8 marginal). Another poll was conducted between February 4 and 7, 2016 by Bill Johnson, which showed that the PNP has a lead of 4% over the JLP going into the elections, but commentators believe that the JLP can still gain momentum. Both parties have released their plans and outlined them in their manifesto. The JLP call theirs “10 point plan” which many economists believe will not work in the country’s economic structure. Therefore, the PNP called it a “10 point con” and has proposed to build on the plans that have been implemented in the current administration, which it believes to be working. Well, the Minister of Finance was given a “Man of the Year” award locally and he recently traveled to New York to receive an award for having the #1 Stock Market in the world. He was also interviewed on Bloomberg on receiving the latter award and for also being ranked the #1economy in the Caribbean for doing business. The ruling party has made some positive changes in all areas of the country so it may not be so easy for the opposition to come out victorious. Both parties are gearing up for the last stretch of the race and we await the results on February 25th, 2016.

Views expressed in this article does not represent the views of the organisation


Public Diplomacy and Regional Stability



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Public Diplomacy and Regional Stability Initiatives.

Whether as protection against late payment, terrorism, war or looming political uncertainties such as the up-and-coming elections of Federal republic of Somalia and Djibouti, Ethiopian foreign investment, Eritrean Human trade migrations, and finally insurance increasingly oils the wheels of the Horn of African trade.

The bulk of trade insurance in the region covers commodity shipments coming out of region, and infrastructure including telecoms and power equipment going in to the continent. Ethiopia is the driving seat as the leader for African issuer for Eurobonds. Chinese government sources has told Geeska Afrika reporters that $4 billon worth of Chinese investments has flowed into Ethiopia which brought tens of thousands of Chinese workers into the country. The Ethiopian Gilgel Gibe III hydroelectric power project began power generation in October which shows the thirst for energy in the horn.

Although the latest predictions from economists at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) see global trade growing at just 3.3% this year. Africa’s economic growth prospects of 4.4% in 2015 and 4.7% in 2016 suggest steady trade flows. Economists predict stronger African domestic demand based on private consumption and public investment in infrastructure as well as increasing foreign direct investment. “The sectors which will remain buoyant in the coming months are still construction, agriculture, services and to a lesser extent the manufacturing industry,” predicts Jean-Christophe Battle the Africa manager at Coface, in the French ECA’s latest research note.

One growing area of demand is from African banks expanding their intra-African trade finance operations to meet demand from key clients. The UN puts intra-African trade at around 12% of Africa’s total trade – although it could well be more because of high levels of informal trade and Africa’s porous borders. “We are doing a lot of work with banks to provide financing solutions and mitigate risk for SMEs,” says Benjamin Mugisha, an underwriter at the African Trade Insurance Agency (ATI). “We have supported South African banks lending into Africa and are now doing more business with Nigerian banks wanting to do cross-border transactions too,” says Roderick Barnett, an underwriter at specialist insurer Beazley

Guelleh May Stay on.
Even so, it remains a fragile concept. The presidents of Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo have recently contemplated changing constitutions to give themselves extra time in office. The leaders of Benin, Congo-Brazzaville and Djibouti are also said to be entertaining the same idea. Many take their cue from the leaders of Chad and Uganda, not to mention Zimbabwe, who have managed to postpone retirement indefinitely.

Presidential elections are due to be held in April 2016 and 67-year-old President Ismail Omar Gueleh has given no indication about whether he plans to follow through with his 2011 announcement that he will retire. Meanwhile, the opposition says that it will not support the holding of elections in 2016 if the government does not create an independent national electoral commission that includes members of the opposition.

Djibouti’s central economic challenge is that its role as a military and logistics hub does not create many jobs or lift people out of poverty. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) argues that the authourites urgently need to diversify the economy and estimates that the country has an unemployment rate of 48%. The government has limited means for social spending because funding for new projects is eating into the national budget.

In Need of Support
With a population of 6.3 million, the loss of thousands of young people each month to emigration has led to a dearth of new recruits for domestic checkpoints and border posts, making security measures harder to enforce. The only national benefit from the exodus – financial injections in the form of remittances – is highly unreliable basis for planning. Under heavy sanctions for supporting terrorist movements in the region – a charge that Asmara routinely denies – Eritrea struggles to provide basic survives to its population. Access to food running water and electricity are limited. The government faces ongoing international criticism for using heavy surveillance, jailing journalists and forcing citizens to work in the national service for low wages and indefinite periods.

Mining is the only bright spot for Eritrea’s economy. Economic prospects for ordinary citizen remain grim, with a private sector too weak to absorb young gradates. Eritrea tertiary education system has suffered through restrictive polices and diplomatic isolation, but an international academic conference planned for July 20016 in Asmara – -the first such forum in more than a decade – is a recent example of coordinated grassroots and government efforts to improve the quality of higher education.

The Older Generation stays the Course
Drought and famine were looming threats for eastern Ethiopia after a light rainy season in 2015. According to United Nations agencies, the number of people in need of food aid shot up to more than 4.5 million from the 2.9 million previously projected. The year’s low crop yield will continue to have ripple effects.

Ethiopia can boast significant progress in building roads, opening schools, improvising health care and modernising agriculture practices over the past five years. But it struggled to boost its manufacturing and food processing sectors, despite the government’s vision of turning Ethiopia into a manufacturing hub. Manufacturing accounts for only 4.1 % of gross domestic product, although the wider industrial sector contributes 14.3% as compared to 40.2% for agriculture and 45.5% for services.

Competition for the 2017 Polls
President Uhuru Kenyatta hopes for a second term amid rising doubts about the identity of his running mate. If Kenyatta were to run in the 2017 elections with Ruto as his second in command, the terrain would be clear for Ruto’s ascendency at the end of the second term. Political commentators, however, say this looks very unlikely as would be Ruto’s political survival if he should choose to challenge Kenyatta in the 2017 general elections.

Facing widespread criticism for continuing to tolerate corruption, the government has begun to turn its attention to reducing graft within the security services. Kenyatta stepped up pressure on commissioners and police commanders at the country level to become more accountable for security and to eliminate graft. He acknowledges that those intending to harm Kenya still found it possible to exploit the countries porous borders.

Fighting Against Al-Shabaab
In September, marking a year since the deadly US drone strike against leader Ahmed Godane, Al-Shabaab stormed an AMISOM base about 90km south of Mogadishu, killing at least 12 Uganda soldiers. This highlighted the movement has middle-tier combatants who can take leadership roles. Al- Shabaab is destabilising the country despite being flushed out of the urban strongholds of Mogadishu and Kismayo and parts of southern and central Somalia. The government claims to have liberated 75% of the country, but Kenya and Uganda troops are set to remain deployed under the aegis of AMISOM in Somalia for the foreseeable future, with the increasingly active support of Western countries.

Livestock continues to be Somalia’s main source of cash and earned a record $350m from exports to gulf states in 2014. In its first review of the economy in 25 years, the international monetary Fund said the economy expanded 3.7% in 2014. Somalia’s diplomatic contacts have been expanding. Turkeys President Recap Tayyip Erdogan visited in early 2015 to launch several projects including rebuilding the Mogadishu airport terminal and 200-patient hospital was his second visit and highlights the growing Turkish influence, which includes military training and humanitarian relief efforts.

South Sudan
Disarming the Warlords
After two years of intense civil war the two warring parties, the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) and the SPLA in Opposition (SPLA-IO) nationally agreed to a monitored ceasefire and to sharing of government positions over a 30-month transitional period before elections are held in 2018. The government will be under increased pressure to conserver resources in view of its heavy dependence of donors, Un agencies and non-government organisations to provide health care and humanitarian assistance.

For the most part, the international community was united in forcing the warring sides to the table and could yet be ready to support the peace process financially and materially, but neighbouring states seem to prefer following their own different agendas. President Sakva Kiir has managed to retain strong support from Uganda, while rebel leader Riek Machar has benefited from the good will of Ethiopia as well as from alleged material assistance from Sudan. What happens in the months ahead will be a critical test of these countries professed intention to achieve a peaceful resolution of the conflict.

On the Road to Change
With presidential and legislative elections coming round again February and March 2016, Uganda is teetering on the brink of potentially significant change. President Yoweri Museveni hopes to extend his 30-year rule for yet another term, and the opposition parties will be much more confident of making sweeping gains if they can craft a united front.

Regardless of the shape of Uganda’s economy after the elections, major issues lie ahead. Uganda’s huge infrastructure bill has partly contributed to the rise in debt and left the country starring at a widening current account deficit. The countries public debt stood at $7.6 billion by July. The debt to gross domestic product ratio went up to 34% in the previous year. This figure is, however, still below the agreed East African Community (EAC) benchmark of 50%.

HAN & Geeska Afrika Online (1985-2015), the oldest free independent Free Press in the region, brings together top journalists from across the Horn of Africa. Including Ethiopia, Somalia, Eritrea, Sudan, Djibouti, South Sudan, Uganda, Kenya, Oromo, Amhara, Somali, Afar and Harari. Plus, we have daily translations from 150 major news organizations in the Middle East and East African regions. Contact at news@geeskaafrika.com

Women in Jamaican Politics



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“Comparatively few women in Jamaica offer themselves for selection as candidates for political office and fewer still are actually selected by their party of choice to run for office” (Waring, 2010, p.18). Politics refers to the decision-making and allocation of scarce resources by the government of a country. The government is comprised of both genders, male and female, in every all parts of the world. However, it is argued there is an imbalance between men and women as the number of men outnumber women and there is an under-representation of women in politics. Women are considered to be that gender in society that is the care-givers and those responsible for domestic matters. Therefore, there are a number of reasons for the under-representation of women in politics. The reasons for this under-representation stems from ideological, socio-economic as well as political reasons.

Ideology refers to a set of opinions or beliefs of a group of people or an individual. It also refers to a set of ideas that characterize a particular culture. Therefore, one reason affecting the under-representation of women in politics is the ideas or theories persons use to analyze aspects of life. Sylvia Walby (1990) defines patriarchy as “a system of social structures and practices in which dominate, oppress and exploit women” (as cited in Barriteau, 2003) which is a main theory in gender studies. According to Shvedova (2010), there are a few hindrances for women in entering parliament including “gender ideology, cultural patterns and predetermined social roles assigned to women and men, women’s lack of confidence to stand for election, women’s perception of politics as a ‘dirty game’, and the ways in which women are portrayed in the mass media. All of these are mainly entrenched in the patriarchal system which affects Jamaica as there are segregated roles. The ideological role perceived of women is that they should be responsible for the home. Therefore, they lack the confidence that they can lead. A majority of the women involved in Jamaican politics are organizers and promoters. Women also want to keep out of the Jamaican politics because for many it is referred to as a ‘dirty game’, and according to Shvedova (2010) includes corruption, bribery and hypocrisy.

Another reason for the under-representation of women in Jamaican politics is through the socio-economic structure of the society. Sharon Hay Webster, a Member of Parliament in Jamaica, outlines that “women in the Jamaican society perform the bulk of unpaid household and voluntary or community work, which means there contribution to national well being…is not measured by society in economic terms” (Waring, 2010, p.18), which leads to the socio-economic reason for the under-representation of women in politics. This includes women’s social networking and how it affects them participating in politics. Waring (2010) posited that “social networking is necessary to attract campaign funding”, as such women face a struggle in attaining funds to campaign as they are not seen as being good leaders in general. Other socio-economic factors include dual burden, and education and training, according to Shvedova (2010). Dual burden is referring to women already having a responsibility at home, such as taking care of the family etc. Therefore, it is believed they cannot take on the additional task of being in a leadership position. Hay Webster highlighted that much of political campaigning and activities occur in late evenings – a reality which also poses a challenge to any female candidate, particularly those with family obligations (Waring, 2010, p.18). It is also highlighted that women will need additional education and training to improve their debating skills as it is believed they have a problem speaking and expressing themselves without exerting too much emotion.

The political arena in its entirety is another reason for the under-representation of women in politics. Fari (2005) posits “politics excludes women from public political sphere as there is a public-private dichotomy in the definition” (p.4). Fari further outlines that “male domination of politics, political parties and culture of formal political structures hinders women’s political participation” (p.4). Additionally, Shvedova (2010) outlines a few political factors that hinder women participation in politics to be “the masculine model of politics and a lack of party support to be the main aspects that affect Jamaica” (p.18). The masculine model of politics being expressed refers to the already male dominated political arena, in which the men have set the rules and standards and also organize all the aspects and evaluation of political life. It also takes into account the view that men make better decisions in relation to economics and finance, while women are perceived to be more focused on societal issues such as health care and education. Waring (2010) posits that “fewer women are selected by their party of choice to run for office”, which shows that the parties are not generally in support of women running for office. Therefore, women do not get financial support from the parties. In Jamaica, even though there is a female Prime Minister, within her party she was discriminated against when she decided to take over as party leader because they did not have confidence in her as a leader.

In Jamaica, of the total elected Members of Parliament, only thirteen percent (13%) are women. According to Lawson and Pearson (2008) “women face more competition than men however it is said they have to be much better than their male counterparts in order to be treated equally in the political arena”. Therefore, there is an urge for more women to offer themselves for political office. According to Dayton Campbell, a Member of Parliament in Jamaica, “women are less corrupt and to have a strong fight against corruption, there needs to be an increase in the presence of women in politics. In addition, according to the UN Women (2013) it is important to have women representing in politics as “increased representation will put government in a better position to plan and implement practices, that is gender sensitive legislation and effective policies that equally serve the needs of women and men”.


  • Barriteau, E. (2003). Confronting Power, Theorizing Gender. Kingston: UWI Publishers.
  • Bari, F. (2005). Women’s Political Participation:Issues and Challenge.
  • Campbell, D. (2014). Women Less Corrupt – Boosting Number of Female MPs Will Clean Up     Governance. The Gleaner.
  • Duckworth, R. C. (2013). Women in Parliament and Government. House of Commons Library.
  • Pearson, J.L. (2008). The Primary Reasons for Under-representation? Re-evaluating the Conventional Wisdom. Journal of Politics.
  • Shvedova, N. (2010). Obstacles to Women’;s Participation in Parliament. In Women in Parliament: Beyond Numbers (pp.33-47). Global Institute for Gender Research.
  • Waring, M. (2010). Women’s Political Participation.

Author: Sheina Richards, B.A. in Political Science. Jamaica

Disclaimer: This Article does not Represent the Opinions of the Organization but the author.

Enemy of Enemies: The Rise of ISIL



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An Al Jazeera production, Enemy of Enemies: The Rise of ISIL attempts to retrace the stratospheric rise of the bloodthirsty terrorist organization, and speculate on the severe consequences that may still lie in their wake.

A panel of experts from three different continents – including the former Iraq Minister of Defense Ali Allawi and National Security Advisor Mowaffak al-Rubaie – provide the majority of the film’s informed commentary. According to their consensus, the United States invasion of the Iraq, and the subsequent toppling of Saddam Hussein, planted the foundation from which the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant could be born. Now rendered chaotic without the presence of its leader or any established government, Iraq’s lack of cohesive identity made them vulnerable to a new and threatening insurgency.

Destabilization in the region reached a turning point with the rise of Islamic militant Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, a figure who was previously regarded as an innocuous presence at best. Declaring dogged allegiance to the philosophies of Osama Bin Laden, Al-Zarqawi inspired the ire of the United States with a series of videotaped beheadings of its captured citizens, and managed to detonate a level of civil war in the region through his mass bombings of sacred landmarks. At the height of al-Zarqawi’s rule, the region was suffering up to 5,000 deaths a month. Upon his death in a United States air strike, the snake of terrorism grew a new tail and called itself ISIL.

Throughout this unfortunate string of events, the perception of the United States and their role in the region began to transform on all sides. Were they liberators, as their leaders insisted them to be, or were they facilitators of a new realm of mayhem? The film’s expert panel consists of voices from all sides of these issues. Their debates run throughout the course of the film, and their practical and ideological differences make for fascinating and enlightening viewing.

Enemy of Enemies: The Rise of ISIL provides valuable insights into the origins of one of the most defining conflicts of our time. It is only through an understanding of where we’ve been that we may be able to determine where we go from here.

Friends and Interests of Kenya: Visits and Meetings with Head of States and Government in 2015



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The ability of two heads of states to meet is seen to symbolize among many other things friendship and cooperation between states and governments. The lack of it can also be deliberate to indicate strained relations or lack of cooperation as witnessed in some states. Kenya has no official enemies but has many ‘friends and relatives’ who share common values, interests, norms, practices and culture. In the course of 2015, the Kenyan Government has been a host and has also been hosted in various countries around the world to enhance relations among other reasons. This year the most anticipated visit was by Barack Obama partly due to the 6th Global Entrepreneurship Summit but mostly due to the Home Coming Visit by a son of a Kenyan. In all these visits there have been bilateral agreements that were discussed and some signed (these are not discussed in details though there are highlighted explanations). While some have resulted to concrete actions, some are yet to be implemented.

The current regime has about 2 more years to go before the next general elections, this would have implications if any relations with any country are sour, hence the need to build and enhance the connections for both local and international goodwill into the next term in office. The following are some observations made out of the state visits during his first term: the focus of the current regime has been building trade and economic ties with new states such as Turkey, Russia, and strengthening the existing such as Uganda, China, Japan, U.S.A. and U.K.; there has been more spending on foreign trips made by the presidency than the previous years, for instance Ksh 604 million vis a vis Ksh 416 million in the previous financial year; there has been increased visits from the private sector for purposes of investment this year. As Kenya waits to reap from the trips and visits made, here are some of the highlights of state visits the president has hosted and has been hosted this year from the last to the first.

28th September 2015: President of Guyana, H.E. David Granger. This meeting happened while in New York attending the UNGA.

Number 1 picture

28th September 2015: With the Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, H.E. Hon. Gaston Browne on the side-lines of the 70th session of the United Nations General Assembly.


26th September 2015: with the Prime Minister of Japan, Mr. Shinzo Abe, in preparation for the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) which Kenya will be hosting in 2016. We affirmed our joint plans for TICAD and also discussed and followed up on other bilateral matters arising from my visit to Japan in March, 2015.


25th Sept 2015: with H.E. Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović, the President of Croatia on the side-lines of the 70th Session of the United Nations General Assembly. I will co-chair the ‘Transforming the world: Realizing the Post-2015 Development Agenda’ interactive dialogue on ‘Tackling inequalities, empowering women & girls & leaving no one behind’ alongside the President of Croatia.


17th September 2015: held a meeting with the EU Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Neven Mimica, when he paid me a courtesy call at State House, Nairobi. Mr. Mimica informed me that the EU is establishing a Sh180 billion trust fund aimed at addressing the root causes of refugee crisis. Thirty per cent of these funds will be dedicated to programmes in the Horn of Africa. Kenya will be represented by a high-level delegation at the forthcoming migration summit that is scheduled to take place in Valleta, Malta. We also discussed fisheries partnership agreements which are awaiting Cabinet approval


12th September 2015: held a meeting with President Bibi Ameenah Firdaus Gurib-Fakim of Mauritius who paid me a courtesy call at State House, Nairobi.


25th July 2015: Visit by U.S. President Barack Obama to discuss key issues among them: Security, Youth and Entrepreneurship, human rights, and terrorism.


4th of July 2015: attended the State Banquet held in my honour, hosted by President Edgar Lungu at State House, Lusaka, Zambia. I thanked President Lungu for inviting me to pay a State Visit to Zambia, the first ever by a Kenyan Head of State. I called for increased trade between Kenya and Zambia, saying the move would boost bilateral relations for the benefit of the people of our two countries.


25th February 2015: Algerian Prime Minister Abdelmalek Sellal and I witnessing the signing of an MOU and bilateral agreements.


20th February 2015: chaired a meeting between President Salva Kiir and former South Sudan Political detainees at K.I.C.C, Nairobi.


30th January 2015: I held bilateral talks with the Prime Minister of Sweden, Stefan Lofven, on the side-lines of the 24th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the African Union in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.


30th January 2015: I held bilateral talks with the newly elected President of Zambia, Edgar Lungu, on the side-lines of the 24th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the African Union in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Zambia 2

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Collective Responsibility; Ending Europe’s Migration Crisis



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Like it was not expected to finally result to the current situation, the migration issue is now a crisis with diverse and devastating consequences. Migrants reaching the EU border have surpassed 100,000 mark in July and reached 340,000 mark so far this year. The crisis has allegedly resulted to more than 3,000 deaths, with the Mediterranean case being the recent tragedy. While Italy and Greece are struggling to cope, Macedonia has already declared a state of emergency!

But why is International Migration now a crisis, at least in Europe?

The migration crisis in Europe can be traced to migrants from developing countries that are either; grappling with economic problems and harsh living standards or experiencing conflicts. Many of these migrants in search for ‘a better life’ while others are fleeing from war and persecution. These countries include Eritrea, Somalia, Kosovo, Afghanistan, Algeria and Syria.

Managing these numbers has proved difficult due to a number of reasons on the receiving states side. These are; a broken European Union migration system, failure to put in place updated security measures to deal with illegal immigrants as well as the Schengen Agreement that made Europe a border-less area, a factor that should be a wakeup call to newly integrating states or regions .

An analytical look at increased Migration, especially the South-North migration can be zeroed in  to a desire to have a ‘better life’ due to widening awareness of opportunities through advanced communication.

To note, the very poorest people are the most affected by global inequalities and are desperate to move under which ever means and circumstances. They’ll take any risk. Nothing will pull them back. They got nothing to lose after all.

The other problem is that there are far more unemployed or under-employed people in the poor world, sorry to call it that but it is, than the number of jobs available in the segmented level markets of the developed economy. Britain’s Interior Minister Theresa May is on record saying that 4 out of 10 migrants entered the UK with no job secured for them. That number must have increased since last year.

While there is a push to have a single European Policy on Asylum and migration, research has indicated that it is difficult to disrupt momentum associated with migration networks through policy. There is more to be done

In fact, in the recent past, there has been an expansion on rights and entitlements that allow certain people i.e. asylum seekers, refugees, to cross borders and stay abroad. Many more countries have signed the 1951 UN Refugee Convention; one that guarantees protection and assistance outside their country of origin.

The Migration Industry

Migration has formed an industry,  a business just like any other business that stands to make commercial gains.

There are labor recruiters, migration and refugee Lawyers, Travel agents, Brokers, Housing agents, Remittance agencies as well as migration and custom officials.

What is legal has no issues, what is a problem is the illegitimate part of the migration industry responsible for human trafficking and smuggling. It is without doubt that there are millions of dollars profits being made in the industry, unaccounted for and that these activities add on the momentum of illegal international migration, which has somewhat contributed to the current crisis.

I would admit that it is difficult to come up with effective policies on migration due to its increased complexity, unless collectively. It is also unfortunate that few if any of the major labour exporting countries publish accurate records on the number of international migrants they produce. They need to play their part by well structuring labour export.

Much of the amounts in remittances, unaccounted for, could be used to finance other illegal immigrants, facilitate their housing , job searching and basically, providing each others social and economic assistance to ‘stabilize’. You can’t blame us Africans, we got to look out for our brother!

To solve the crisis, EU member states plan to share the burden and each take a share of the migrants. France has promised to take 24,000 over two years while Britain has promised to take 20,000 Syrian refugees. But this, in my opinion is not a long-term solution. That solution will involve more than the EU. We need to address this from the source. Who are we? We the world, the concerned parties.

As countries develop, migration especially those seeking better lives, reduces. Unfortunately though, many countries in the South are developing at a painfully slow rate. Nevertheless, there is a need for governments in the South to intensify economic growth and development to create employment and improve living standards. This to an extent will discourage illegal international migration. We have to take away the incentive to undertake the dangerous journey to Europe to find a better life in the home countries.

Europe can assist in this by opening up their agricultural markets for produce from Africa.

As Guy Verhofstadt, President ALDE Group put it, “As long as life is dangerous and miserable in Africa and peace is nowhere in sight like in Syria, people will try come to Europe. It is our duty to help to create the conditions to have a better life at home.” It should be noted that South-North migration pattern has adverse economic impacts on the South.

By cooperating more, and the word here is cooperate, in peacekeeping efforts and by streamlining development, it will be easy to solve ongoing conflicts in Syria and other states experiencing civil wars. This is opposed to what some European companies are accused of, part-funding conflicts in Central Republic by entering into timber deals with militia groups.This definitely reduces refugees and asylum seekers a big deal.

It is way better than just putting up walls and return and readmission mechanisms.

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Post 2015 Development Agenda; Reducing Poverty and Promoting Prosperity in Africa



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This September, world leaders and Head of States will be meeting in New York. They convene there to discuss and agree on modalities of effecting a post-2015 development framework that has in it, the new global goals, popularly referred to as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). They will also, as reported, integrate the follow up to the Rio +20 Conference on Sustainable development.

Sustainable development, now seemingly pegged on the adoption of the SDGs seeks to among other pressing issues; end poverty, fight insecurity and tackle climate change by 2030. This will be by ensuring access to education, healthy living, gender equality and call for climate action.

However, as many will note, most of the goals that make it to the SDGs are the same ones that were in the ‘expired’ Millennium Development Goals- MDGs. Before jumping onto the SDGs band wagon, it is my view that the Developing World, in particular Africa, to first assess and evaluate its performance in regard to the MDGs. Honestly and painfully so, majority in the developing world are still grappling with all of the 8-MDGs.

There is no way any state can achieve sustainable development where as it has not yet attained food security, reasonable social welfare and ensured environmental conservation. The opposite is very present in the developing world.

Accountability, at least based on the set 21 targets and 60m indicators was/is still wanting. For example in Kenya ,as per the Kenya Economic Report-2013 on performance of MDGs in Kenya revealed 40% of unemployment rate and that about 45.9% of the population was living under a dollar a-day. It is worrying.

Well the European Union is reported to be working around quite an ambitious and comprehensive package that takes into consideration a number of issues such as; Social economic dimension, environmental concerns, Poverty eradication (income, food security, water, energy, health, education, gender inequalities) and resource mobilization that will facilitate putting the agenda into practice. They have also enhanced their Official Development Assistance (ODA) that focuses more on the least developed nations.

However, the EU and other potential well-wishers have concerns, or a faced by bottle-necks that wouldn’t allow them extend their helping hand. These range from conducive policy environment, governance concerns and somewhat ineffective of un-trusted institutions. These are issues that are beyond their control but lay squarely on the control of our leadership. Such limitations play a great part in failure to achieve these goals.

Furthermore, the protracted and ever emerging conflicts in Africa are another limit is us achieving sustainable growth and development. Conflicts and violence inhibit agricultural and economic activities, inhibits innovations, and deprives the much needed human resource as well as destruction of property. Going by the current security and humanitarian crisis in Europe that has been instigated by the migration crisis from war torn countries such as Syria, Afghanistan areas, violence has nothing to offer in achieving post 2015 agenda. It subtracts the little gains made instead.

More far so, African states certainly like Kenya play or operate ‘Casino Economy’. It only benefits the rich political class and on the other hand penalizes the poor and the less fortunate. The SDGs are universal, none is important than the other and they all complement each other. It is therefore fair for all governments in Africa to self-evaluate itself in regards to the extent it went in achievement of the MDGs. That is the only reasonable way to approach implementation of the post 2015 framework at attainment of the SDGs. Failure to that, come 2030, SDGs will be another unsuccessful story as the MDGs are today in Africa.

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Going Nuclear: An Analysis of the Joint Comprehensive Plan Of Action



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Following the reaffirmation by the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) of the importance of nuclear energy for economic and social development and the right of all states to use and to have access to the technology, there was a need to regulate its risks and provide basic safety standards. Like oil tankers, nuclear installations are potentially hazardous undertakings whose risk to health, safety and environment is best met by regulation.

The International Atomic Energy Agency was the product of the compromise following failure to agree on US proposals for International management of all nuclear power by an International body. Its establishment was therefore key in a number of issues that include;

  • Encouraging and facilitating development and dissemination of nuclear power
  • Ensuring that nuclear energy is used for peaceful uses only
  • Setting health and safety standards
  • Ensuring safety & radiological protection matters
  • Better exchange of information among states on safety and accident experience
  • Developing additional safety guidelines and performing safety evaluations and inspections on request

Convention on Assistance in Cases of Nuclear Emergency also gives the Agency new task of coordinating assistance and responding to requests for help. Further, the Nuclear Safety and Radio Active waste Conventions adopted in 1994 &1997 have enhanced its importance as the principal International Regulatory body for civil nuclear power

Article 111 A.6 of the IAEA statute authorizes the Agency to adopt standards of safety to protect health and minimize danger to life and property from exposure to radiation in collaboration with other UN agencies. Standards include; regulation, rules, requirements, codes of practice and guide lines e.g. In 1974, the Agency initiated the Nuclear safety Standards Programme that established basic International minimum safety standards and principles regulating the design, construction, sitting and operation of nuclear power plants. The Agency also has competence over a wide range of safety and health issues relating to all aspects on the use of nuclear energy.

The Legal Effect:

Nothing in the statute confers any binding force on the IAEA standards or requires member states to comply with them which makes it a major flaw.

On Non-Proliferation safeguards, the IAEA actually enjoys much stronger power in that field as a result of the 1968 Non-Proliferation Treaty and regional agreements, not by itself.

The NPT puts in place obligatory the acceptance through bilateral agreements with the Agency. It also allows periodic compulsory Agency inspection for purposes of verification. Thirdly, it ensures compliance with the overall scheme of non-proliferation safeguards which is monitored by UNGA & UNSC

However, despite their non-binding character, IAEA health and safeguards have significantly contributed in controlling the risks of nuclear energy. Theirs is based on expert and technical consensus as opposed to a legal status. This has resulted in an appreciable degree of harmonization which can be regarded as soft law.

IAEA however faces some challenges such as limited power to act as an International Nuclear Safety inspectorate under its statute and also that its standards are not necessarily adopted by the Agency’s General Conference in which all members are represented by a Board of Governors and this makes it lack International support. International regimes on atomic energy thus seem ineffective.

As such, it would explain why states opt to negotiate at a bilateral or trilateral level to strike convenient deals on themselves. The International System is by nature an anarchic one and states are; rational actors, two pursue national interests one being security and thirdly, are preoccupied with maximization of power.

This thus explains the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) now popularly referred to as Iran nuclear deal signed in Vienna on 14th of July, 2015. The E3/EU+3 ( China, France, Germany, Russia, US and Representative of EU’s Foreign Affairs and Security Common Policy) and Iran agreed on a “compromise” which will ensure Iran’s nuclear programme will be exclusively peaceful, within scientific and economic frameworks as per JCPOA provisions.

This, the E3/EU+3 says, will contribute to or is for the sake of regional and International peace and security. That by Iran reaffirming that under no circumstance will it seek to develop or acquire nuclear weapons, the world is secure. But that’s beats logic. A lot other states are in possession of nuclear programs, why focus on Iran?

Constructuralism as a theoretical approach to foreign policy analysis explains this. What E3/EU+3 envisions from JCPOA is to gain confidence in Iran’s programme and the only way for them to do so is to tame Iran. This theory explains that states act differently towards enemies than they do towards friends. Enemies are threats, friends are not.

Reality is under constant construction and situations are what states make them. This is because, the meaning of a situation heavily depends on how a state analyzes it, selfishly of course. States therefore attach different meanings to events, and thus employ different practices and different Foreign Policy choices. For example therefore, the US looks differently at nuclear war heads in the hands of France than in the hands of North Korea and Iran. Reason being, the threat it poses.

Mearsheimer’s Great Power Politics theory assumes that states can never be sure about the intentions of other states, especially future intentions and that the principle goal of states is survival. Explained by those assumptions, the international system is characterized by fear. States therefore realize that it is a self-help system and thus strive to maximize their relative power. This definitely explains the United States of America led E3/EU+3 and Iran JCPOA deal under the premise that Iran now gets the United Nations Security Council sanctions lifted.


  • UN – United Nations
  • UNGA – United Nations General Assembly
  • UNSC – United Nation Security Council
  • JCPOA – Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action
  • EU – European Union
  • JCPA – Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action
  • NPT – Non-Proliferation Treaty

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Efficacy in Upholding of Human rights should be Evident in International Human rights Regimes



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As David Kennedy notes, at the international stage, human rights is now more than an institutional regime but a universal ideology with international standards of legitimacy for sovereign power, common vernacular of justice and global civil society. These regimes fight against cases of torture, imprisonment, religious and political persecution, slavery, labour issues amongst other abuses against human life.

However, unlike other common institutionalized international organizations that deal with issues of trade, monetary and international business, peace and security, environmental conservation and social matters, international human rights regimes are not designed with the primary objective of regulating policy externalities away from societal interactions between borders. There is need to hold governments accountable for domestic/ internal activities that touch on human rights. They empower individual citizens to challenge the domestic activities of their own state. This in a number of cases is not happening though.

Emergence and expansion of formal human rights regimes can be explained by either a realist or an ideational explanation. It is either governments are coerced by democratic governments and transnational actors of democratic civil societies to accept human rights norms (realist view) or they persuade other governments to do so (ideational view). This consequently informs the 2 theories of international human rights cooperation; coercion and normative persuasion that explain the realist and ideational explanations. It is time to go with coercion in countries that have consistently abused human rights.

It is also imperative to note that states are the source of international human rights system and the principle contemporary mechanisms for implementing and enforcing rights. It is without any doubt that the United Nations has in the past shaped world politics in general and human rights issues by among other ways influencing state cooperation. Substantive issues in human rights and procedures in the UN for handling these issues have changed dramatically over time.

There has therefore been a tendency to portray the Universal Declaration of Human rights, the two covenants and subsequent human rights treaties to be taken as the international expression of the Human rights obligations of contemporary states. The states have themselves agreed to them, as a reflection of global human rights as a universal uniform and coherent set of norms. Why are some, especially those experiencing civil wars not upholding and respecting human rights?

For example, rape and other forms of sexual violence are being used as war tactics in Syria and Iraq, where the United Nations is on record warning those acts are war crimes. The question then emerges, what is its agency, UNHRC doing about it?

This has even seen some organizations calling on the United Nations Human Rights Council to create an international commission of inquiry to investigate alleged serious violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law by all relevant parties since September 2014, when the Houthi armed group took control of Sana’a, the Yemen capital. That means that some quarters feel the UNHRC is not doing enough.

In South Sudan, the US State Department in 2013 released report painting a grim picture of serious human rights abuses. They ranged from extra-judicial killings, rape, arbitrary arrest, human trafficking, discrimination and violence against certain ethnic communities, inhumane treatment of civilians and many others. Unfortunately though, the international community and agencies have totally focused on reconciliation, which is of course important, but then sidelined and forgotten addressing these abuses.

A report released by Human Rights Watch in 2000, greatly accused the UNHCR and the host Tanzania government for inaction in addressing violence against women refugees from Burundi in a timely and effective manner.

There has been a number of cases that show the International Human rights regimes have failed or have been inefficient in enforcing respect for human rights and punishing the culprits. That has to be re-looked at.

Unfortunately though,it is also evident that states subscribe to these instruments on their own will. The adoption of the Convention on the rights of the Child attracted the largest number of state parties while the 2nd Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political rights abolishing death penalty being the treaty with fewest states still shows that.

The other limitation is the Principle of sovereignty and thus, restraining these regimes from interfering with internal affairs of states. In one way or another though, this issue can be solved in revising International Law.

Compared, there are differences in how regimes fair in Africa, Asia, Europe and Americas. The observation is that in Europe and Americas, they are complex and developed institutionalization of human rights where as in Africa, it is still promotional. It is worse in Asia and Arab regions since there are no established international human rights institutions.

To some extent, this explains how the cultural embedding of human rights norms across regions. Also, patterns of state formation, colonization and decolonization, civil society outreach, legal and judicial traditions, democracy and economic development shape and influence the scope and depth of regional institutionalization of human rights regimes.

To bring uniformity and respect for human rights across the globe therefore, there is an immediate need for International Human rights regimes to be stricter in ensuring states respect and uphold human rights. There is need to use coercion, threats and sanctions where it deems fit for the sake of human life. Failure to do this, continued abuse of human rights will see disgruntled victims respond. This desperate response will range from insurgencies resulting to coups, civil wars terrorism and other forms of insecurity.

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A Theoretical Assessment of Ethnic Conflict Management



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The following are some of the theories used by scholars and policy advisers in understanding ethnic conflict, ethnic conflict has been endemic in African society ever since colonialism was established in Africa and has become a wound that never heals due to a lack of objective understanding of what it entails.


It was introduced to debunk the other theories that attribute causes of conflict to the innately aggressive nature of human beings (John Burton, 1998). The importance of the Human needs theory to ethnic conflict management in Africa is that it moves beyond theories that blame Africa conflict on a primordial point instead it points to ineffective institutions or structures unable to satisfy the basic human needs of their citizens. Whenever such non negotiable needs are not met conflict is unavoidable, such as;

  • Safety and security – Freedom from fear and anxiety
  • Belongingness and love – The need to be accepted by others, family, friends and groups
  • Self esteem – This need to be recognized by one self and others
  • Personal fulfillment – The need to reach ones potential in life
  • Identity as a sense of self in relation to the outside world
  • Culture security this is the need for recognition of one’s language, tradition, culture values, ideas and concepts
  • Freedom is the condition of having no physical, political or civil restrain
  • Distribution justice – Allocation of resources among all members of a community
  • Participation – Actively partake in the influence in the civil society

Human Needs theory gives a good insight in to the causes and management of conflict, It believes in a win-win situation of conflict management and constructs the zero sum game of conflict management


This theory is based on distributive justice and private property created by Robert Nozick in the book Anarchy, State and Utopia. Nozick provides elements of group entitlement theory these are;

  • Principle of justice in Acquisition – This principle deals with the initials acquisition of holdings it is an account of people first came to own property what type of things can be held and so forth.
  • Principle of justice in transfer and a principle of ratification of injustices, this basically is about how to deal with holdings that are unjustly acquired or transferred and how to deal with long past transgressions or injustices done.[1]

The Group Entitlement Theory would imply everyone is entitled to the holdings that he or she the posses under the distribution; unfortunately some people steal from others, defraud them and enslave them.


In Africa, where poverty and deprivation are becoming endemic mostly as a result of distributive injustices, ethnicity remains an effective means of survival and mobilization. Ethnic groups that form for economic reasons then they disband after achieving their objectives. This corresponds with Benedict Andersons (1991, 5-7) argument that ethnicity is a contrast rather than a constant.[2]


Stresses the uniqueness of the underlying importance of ethnic identity from the point of view, ethnicity is a biological and fixed characteristics of individual and community.[3] Primordial-ism assumes ethnic identity as fixed, once it is constructed. For example the 1994 Rwandan Genocide, the dominant Hutu ethnic group in Rwanda felt they must kill their ethnic neighbors the Tutsi, due to established differences in ethnic identities which set them apart.


According to Lake and Rothschild, 1996, Ethnic conflict is a sign of a weak state or a state embroiled in constant loyalties. In the case state act with bias to favor a particular ethnic group or region and behaviors such as preferential treatment fuel ethnic conflict, the effectiveness of governance is dependent on it’s ability to address social issues and human needs.

Stability of African states in threatened by the failure of national institutions but not ethnicity per se. The notion that modernity will result in smooth transition from community to association with gradual dissolution of ethnic affiliation did not work.


[1] Bowen, J. R. i996. ‘The myth of global ethnic conflict ‘, Journal of Democracy v7 , 4: 3-I4.

[2] Berman, B. J. I998. ‘Ethnicity, patronage and the African state: the politics of uncivil nationalism’, African Affairs 97, 388: pp 305-4I.

[3] Glickman, H. ed. I995 Ethnic Conflict and Democratization in Africa. Atlanta, GA: African Studies Association Press.

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Understanding Intelligence



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There a lot of public misconception of what Intelligence really entails, Intelligence has been a central principle of military planning for as long as recorded human civilization has existed. It calls for the collection and analysis of information from enemies, allies and internal structures within a state.

The article advances the intelligence concept as a way to advance synergy across the military disciplines – human, technological and information intelligence. It describes the potency of each discipline in forming a critical foundation for such a ‘collective intelligence’ and calls for building theory to integrate the intelligence tenets. The proposition suggests that collective intelligence would bestow several benefits, including more effective collection efforts and stronger countermeasures against enemy’s deception.

Collective intelligence amongst states that share the same enemy has proved successful by been able to meet the needs of those on the front line. But these efforts have taken place principally on an ad hoc basis, with little advancement of a premise on how collective intelligence truly operates and how its accomplishment can be replicated. Collective intelligence can prevent the antagonist from exploiting one’s vulnerabilities because battle synergies can cover the weaknesses that are inherent in any system or human operation. Most importantly, Collective intelligence embraces inter dependencies and are based on a logical analysis that matches operational objectives with the strengths and weakness[1]

The following are some of the key areas that military strategies need to focus on collective intelligence:

  • Geo-spatial Intelligence
  • Electronic Intelligence
  • Human Intelligence

Geo-spatial Intelligence:

This involves use of satellites that provides reconnaissance capabilities across vast portions of the earth ground activity; the satellites provide high-resolution surveillance capabilities. Digital images are transferred to ground stations in near real time and infrared imagery to the ground forces. This has been lately used by use of drones that take real time images of large scale movements of rebels or terrorist groups in Northern Iraq against ISIS militants, which has proved quite successful

Electronic Intelligence:

This involves the interception and monitoring of electronic communication gadgets to collect and analyze detailed planning and composition of the threat imposed by the adversary. This has proved as one of the most successful form of intelligence gathering in the 21st century. Although controversial due to privacy concerns, organizations such as the National Security Agency NSA has been able to intercept and stop hundreds of threats imposed by the Al-Qaeda terror network, through tapping mobile communication gadgets

Human Intelligence:

Human intelligence involves use of human social connections done in covertly; this is based on cooperation of an individual with a foreign entity who for various reasons is willing to betray the trust placed in them to compromise classified information. Also referred to as espionage a clandestine operation, in the sense that the side undertaking the espionage needs to maintain the secrecy of its operations. Currently Human intelligence has taken up many forms from men and women embedded in the social political and economic affairs on an adversary to retrieve crucial information that could bring down the opponent at all cost


Employing a collective intelligence ensures that the enemy is crippled to penetrate the states defenses. Also by effectively integrating the good and bad of the intelligence disciplines can bring up the weak points in the intelligence process, while strengthening the strong ones. For example, cautious management of the electronic intelligence can offset the risks of adversary intelligence services spoofing human intelligence. On the offensive side, enabling more accurate and incisive intelligence about adversaries creates new opportunities to gain additional intelligence insight about adversaries. By fusing Human, electronic and geospatial intelligence states are going to be in a far better position to deal with all manner of threats


James J. Wirtz & Jon J. Rosenwasser (2010): From Combined Arms to Combined Intelligence: Philosophy, Doctrine and Operations, Intelligence and National Security, 25:6, 725-743


[1] Paraphrasing James J. Wirtz & Jon J. Rosenwasser (2010): From Combined Arms to Combined Intelligence: Philosophy, Doctrine and Operations, Intelligence and National Security, 25:6, pp 725-743

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ICC on Trial



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United Nations Vs International Criminal Court:

First and foremost it is vital to trace the history of the relationship between the two institutions so as to understand the issues to be dealt with as the problems are being highlighted.

The relationship between the United Nations and the International Criminal Court as established under the Rome Statute 1998, article 2 which states that: “The court shall be brought into relationship with the United Nations through an agreement to be approved by the assembly of states parties to this statute and thereafter concluded by the president of the court on its behalf.”

Under the Negotiated Relationship Agreement between the International Criminal Court and the United Nations, Article 2 outlines the Principles of the cooperation which are stated as: Article 2(2) the court recognizes the responsibilities of the United Nations under the charter. Article 2(3) The United Nations and the Court respect each other’s status and mandate. Article 17 (1, 2, 3,) of the agreement explicitly displays the interactions between the United Nations Security Council and the Court.

Another crucial written law that shows the relationship between the two institutions is Article 13(b) of the Rome Statute which gives authority to the Security Council to refer cases to the ICC.  In view of this relationship, a critical distinction is that the UN Security Council is a political body whereas the ICC is a legal body. Among the major challenges regards the referral procedure of cases to the court by the UNSC, where the process largely shapes the image of the court globally. The court is limited to the extent that it can only investigate cases where a state is a party to the statute otherwise where crimes have been committed in a non-party state it has no jurisdiction. This is evidenced by article 12 of the Rome statute “Preconditions to the Exercise of Jurisdiction” subsections (1, 2, and 3) where jurisdiction is over a state, a national of a state party.

The Security Council has the mandate given under Chapter VII of the UN charter, Article 39 to determine the breach of international peace and security and to refer such cases to ICC including countries that do not subscribe to the Rome Statute.

History shows that there have only two cases from the UNSC to ICC, which were beyond the jurisdiction of the ICC. These are UNSC Resolution 1593 of 2005 where the situation in Darfur was taken to the court. The other instance is UNSC Resolution 1970 of 2011 where the Libyan crisis was also referred to the court. One case that was not referred yet it had serious and grave human atrocities was the Israel’s Operation Cast Lead in the Gaza Strip in 2009 and the government-led final offensive in the Sri Lankan civil war. The nature of the process is inevitably political and selective; this has serious negative perceptions on the legitimacy and integrity of the court.

Another challenge experienced is in the financial sphere of relations. The court is limited financially to investigate cases referred to it by the UNSC. According to the Rome Statute Article 115, and Article 13 of the Negotiated Relationship between the UNSC and the ICC, the court’s sources of funds come from the contributions by the State Parties and also from the United Nations upon the approval of the General Assembly subject to separate arrangements. Despite the articulation of this commitment from the UN there has not been a single separate arrangement between the UN and ICC and as a result there are financial constraints in the operations of the court, as is frequently highlighted in statements by court officials at the meetings of the Assembly of States Parties.

Cooperation is a key element in the smooth running of both organizations and mostly the ICC as its credibility is determined by the degree of support offered to it by the states parties to the statute as well as the UNSC. This is expressed in three ways: the first is that the Security Council doesn’t use its powers to enforce properly. This was evidenced when the Resolutions for Darfur and Libya only obliged cooperation by the situation states and merely urged the non-party states to cooperate with the court thus limiting the potential effectiveness of the Court. The second way was the lack of follow up on the referred cases by the Security Council, most especially the arrest warrants issued by the court. The solemnity of this is shown when Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda presented the sixteenth report of the ICC to the Security Council on the situation in Darfur. She expressed her frustration at the lack of backing from the council: “My Office and the Court as a whole have done their part in executing the mandate given by this Council in accordance with the Rome Statute. The question that remains to be answered is how many more civilians must be killed, injured and displaced for this Council to be spurred into doing its part?

The third manner is lack of support from the states parties to the statute and those non-parties to the statute. International peace and security is not a negotiable value and hence should not be given less priority over interests of a state, however the state of affairs demonstrates that this is the case.  Compliance with the warrants of ICC to individuals has not been taken serious by the UNSC as well as member states of both the UN and the Rome Statute. This will continue to waiver to the least the confidence level of states towards the ICC, a case scenario likely to happen in future is that more and more atrocities will be committed under the watch of all states in the international system.

The court has been dubbed the African court due to a majority of cases being those from African countries. As a result there has been a negative attitude from African countries and hence the resort to an African court to carry prosecutions and investigations in cases originating from Africa. There is less trust in the court; this is shown by the support from African states to the Kenyan Cases at the court where a majority of states now are thinking of traditional peaceful means of dealing with domestic conflicts for instance Rwanda, whereas others do not fully comply with the court’s instructions.


A recommendation to the court and the UN system would be to set up an alternative enforcement tool that would be instrumental in arrests for those wanted by the court. This would minimize the level of politics played by states when it comes to arresting head of governments and states on their own. More dialogue of better ways to escalate the level of confidence of the court especially in Africa need to be looked into for the maintenance of International Peace and Security.  

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The Expanded Conception of Security & International Law



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Challenges To The UN Collective Security System:

The changing nature of security issues and threats has led to the multiplicity of means and ways of tackling them. This has had causal effects on the level of interactions among states bringing them together to face a mutual enemy and thus the collective security regime clearly evidenced in the workings of the United Nations System which has also been the foundation in the development of International legal regime.

International security as the antidote of strategic balance of power has been on the rise simultaneously with national security of states, where the more states get together in the aim of protecting themselves the more the individual states seek to further their own security-this undermines the collective security approach. This works contrary to the notion of collective security as it creates a more competitive scenario, though in legal and theoretical terms it perceives to have a universal approach, in practice it is rarely the case.

Focus on the protection of individuals within the state has been on the rise as captured by United Nations Development Programme in its 1994 Human Development Report[1] and hence the ‘responsibility to protect’ by all for all. Focus on new security frontiers has led to more interactions in legal regimes on for instance how to secure the cyber space, Antarctica, the arctic, outer space and various maritime zones. New ideas brought forth by the Copenhagen school have also resulted to focus on the security of issues rather than actors hence development of regimes such as environmental regime, economic regimes, and human security regimes inter alia.

Dynamics in national security brought in by terrorism has undermined the protection of human rights by states as each state preserves the right to determine what terrorism is and what it is not. The United Nation Security Council Resolution 1373[2] declares that terrorism is contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations, leaving the definition of terrorism upon the state and the counter-terrorism measures of the state upon its volition including tighter border control against asylum seekers as well as immigrants. The widening range of security concerns have consequences on the collective system approach: it poses challenges to the jurisdictional limits of international institutions such as the Security Council; requires an extensive array of mechanisms to respond to the different threats than the existing collective security threats.

Aspects such as the role of private individuals in securitization, the accommodation of individuals and non-state actors in international law continue to prove challenging as a result of the existing collective security regime by states. A more positive instance is the principle of proportionality in armed conflict under international humanitarian law where legitimate military goals cannot be attained by civilian casualties.  Deployment of peacekeeping forces as the mandate of the Security Council has caused ethical, operational and normative dilemmas[3].

With regard to International Institutions, their methodologies of operation and non-democratic decision making processes question their legitimacy. Regardless, threats to the regime security are rather structural than violent, for instance the Security Council’s role in providing solutions to non-traditional security concerns. On the contrary there is a concern of whether military approach to solve non-military and non-traditional threats is the soundest way to go, and therefore a continuous dilemma. The collective security regime alternative is unilateral security measure, of the two, collective security regime attempts to maintain international peace and security prove more fail-safe. Unilateralism is bound to be a serious threat to the international legal regime and more so human security.

The best approach in dealing with human security issues at a global level lies with the concept of Cooperative security which is based on the idea of similar institutions and norms unlike the common security which is based on the idea of similar interests.  The idea propagates for: political dialogue despite rivalry and tensions to for the realization of a state’s security and facilitating integration into an institutional dialogue.  Another approach is comprehensive security concept which encourages assorted approaches to addressing human security threats in a comprehensive way focusing on the process rather than the substance. A threat to the ideals of Human security is the fact that it is perceived to be a political and economic tool used by the ‘donor states’ to promote their agendas in third world countries.

Further deepening and widening of human security concerns and approaches should be expected, therefore greater levels of engagements should be harnessed with other disciplines as well.

[1] UN Development Programme, “Human Development Report 1994”, New York: United Nations 1994, p22.

[2] SC Res 1373 of 28th September 2001

[3] H. Nasu, “Operationalizing the ‘Responsibility to Protect’ and conflict prevention: Dilemmas of Civilian Protection in Armed Conflict”, Journal of Conflict & Security Law 2009-14, pp209-241

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Syria’s Civil War: The People & the Tanks



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As the Syria civil war rages on, claiming a terrible toll of people and infrastructure, with complete and total displacement of people. While it’s easier to point out that Assad’s regime is responsible for the situation. There are several forces that propel the revolution in Syria, foremost the fact that the youth in this part of the world are highly unemployed and discontent with the old regime who own every level of society in Syria. A system based on clan nepotism and corrupt affiliations. Assad’s regime ignorance on the changing dynamics of globalization, liberalism and the depreciating importance of state supremacy in this new world order has only made matters worse but has deepened the people’s resolve to liberate themselves.

The Syrian civil war will continue on until the warring parties feel the cost of the war: meaning Assad, ISIS and the Free Syrian Army will have to evolve and provide a new narrative to the war, which to some extent has worked quite well, the Islamic state will soon start dressing up for diplomacy suits to avoid the United States of Drones from annihilating their leaders day by day.

The stereotype of the Syrian revolution has been indicted with severe brutality mainly by regimes army forces, the army backing this regimes have let loose indiscriminate shelling attacks using tanks and a barrage of airborne attacks claiming innocent lives. Brothers killing brothers that has been the slogan used by the west to portray the Assad as a dictator clinging on to power with serious issues of the rule of law.

Almost daily, local and international media carry stories that regime army allies shell civilian homes where women and children reside as part of a campaign to weaken ISIS & rebels momentum, this has been used as a legitimate cause by the west to arm ISIS and its affiliates against Assad’s regime. Assad has rhetorically failed to acknowledge the responsibility for their country’s state of problems either politically, economically or socially, having grossly mismanaged the economy for decades which has made it quite unpopular with the people.

It would be a serious mistake for the western governments to overlook the ISIS threat as simply as a re-installation of democracy against Assad and the Shia Iraqi government, ISIS act of camouflaging itself along the banner of revolution and eventually raising the reinstalling Sharia-cracy.  The west needs to either back off from this region or literally put boots on the ground, which is unlikely considering the cost and warfare in Iraq & Afghanistan.

There is deep suspicion in numerous political circles that the Syrian Civil war is merely a proxy war by the west and Israel to fight the war on terror as well as strategically create a resourceful advantage as part of an extensive conspiracy to oppose and divide Islam sphere of influence, if this is the case, the Syrian civil war is a difficult crisis, and no single explanation will solve all of its elements, capitalizing on diplomacy between the regime and the people to begin a sober peace process and produce an all-inclusive and feasible peace accord is welcomed but It’s not IEDs and Diplomacy which are going to win the war but rather a dialogue between the people and the tanks.

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Radical Feminist



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This branch of feminism focuses on the theory of patriarchy which is a system of power that organizes society into a complex of relationships based on an assumption of ‘male supremacy’ used to oppress women. Sylvia Wably[1]  argues that men as a group dominate women as a group and are the main beneficiaries of the subordination of women.

Though there are differences between radical feminists over the basis of male supremacy on the appropriation of women’s sexuality and bodies, while in some accounts male violence is seen as the root cause (Brownmiller 1976, Firestone 1974, Rich 1980).

Sexuality is seen as a major site of male domination over women through which men impose their notion of femininity over women[2]. Sexual practice is seen to be sexually constructed around male notions of desire[3]. They also argue that male violence against women is considered to be part of a system of controlling women[4].

The theory is critiqued by various scholars who accuse it of having a tendency to essential-ism, to an implicit/explicit biological reduction-ism and to a false universal-ism which cannot understand historical change or take sufficient account of divisions between men and women based on ethnicity, race and class[5].

Important to the feminism approach is the dual systems theory which links together the Marxist feminists and the radical feminists, hence an indispensable approach in this analysis. This paper draws its content from “Theorizing Patriarchy” by Sylvia Walby, 1991.

The Dual Systems Theory

This is a synthesis of Marxist and radical feminist theories, where contemporary gender inequality is analysed as a result of the structures of a capitalist and patriarchal or capitalist-patriarchal society[6].

Eisenstein (1981) considers that the two systems are so closely interrelated and symbiotic that they have become one, for instance when an increase in women’s paid work, due to capitalist expansion sets up a pressure for political change, and as a result of the increasing contradiction in the position of women who are both housewives and wage labourers.

Mitchell (1975) discusses gender in terms of separation between the two systems, in which the economic level is ordered by capitalist relations and the level of unconscious by the law of patriarchy.

Hartman (1979) wishes to see patriarchal relations crucially operating at the level of expropriation of women’s labour by men and not at the level of ideology and the unconscious.  She argues that within the field of paid work occupational segregation is used by organized men to keep access to the best paid jobs for themselves at the expense of women. Hartman (1981) contends that even within the household women do more labour than men, even if they also have paid employment.

She continues that the two forms of expropriation also act to reinforce each other, since women’s disadvantaged position in paid work makes them vulnerable in making marriage arrangements and their position in the family disadvantages them in paid work.

Young (1981) cites limitations to the approach, arguing that specification of the nature of the separation between patriarchy and capitalism is necessary and achievable and that sustaining the duality of capitalism and patriarchy is inherently impossible.

Analysis of Patriarchy

According to Sylvia (1991) patriarchy is composed of six structures which are necessary in order to capture the variation in gender relations in westernized societies. These are:

  • The patriarchal mode of production
  • Patriarchal violence
  • Patriarchal relations in paid work
  • Patriarchal relations in sexuality
  • Patriarchal relations in cultural institutions
  • Patriarchal relations in the state.

This paper will consider the analysis of politics and global affairs according to Waltz[7] which include the individual level, the state level and the international level. The individual has become a key security concern owing to the widening and deepening approaches to international security studies. The state is also a crucial level as it has an international legal personality hence acts as a representative of its citizens.

The combined activities of the individuals through Non-State actors, Non-Governmental Organizations and the state qualifies for the international trends in politics among other disciplines within the framework of security studies. The analysis will consider the approaches of both the Radical feminists and the Dual Systems Theoretical approaches to the issues mentioned.

  1. The Individual level

Under this framework, there are issues that feminists consider vital to the security of the women. These are as categorized by Sylvia (1991), which in this paper will include:

  • Patriarchal relations in paid work
  • Patriarchal relations household production
  • Patriarchal violence

On Paid Work

Radical feminists have little on this as most of their work is on sexuality and violence. Stanko (1988) addresses the significance of sexual harassment for occupational segregation. Women in areas of work traditionally occupied by men are more likely to report sexual harassment than those in traditional female areas of employment. Sylvia (1991) argues that sexual harassment is utilized to maintain occupational closure against women, as well as a more generally pervasive form of control.

The Dual Systems Approach

Hartmann (1979) argues that it is by excluding women from the better kinds of paid work that organized men are able to keep women at a disadvantage for instance in Trade Unions. That women’s domestic work further hinders their ability to gain access to the better forms of work which require training.

On Household Production

Firestone (1974) argues that reproduction is the basis of women’s subordination by men. That the biological hazards surrounding reproduction such as pregnancy, menstruation,  childbirth, breast feeding and child rearing make women vulnerable and dependent on men.

She continues to argue that in love, power plays as women are trying to catch the best husband and men’s emotional development has been stunted by their upbringing in a patriarchal family. The solution according to fire-stone is in eradication of the basic problem i.e. women’s vulnerability in reproduction by developing forms of technology to control limitations of biology in the interest of women. Rose and Hanmer (1976) on the contrary contend that Hartmann’s view is naïve, the scientific progress by those who think technology is more likely to be used against women since it is controlled by patriarchal interests.

Rich (1977) considers children to be a major source of joy to women and motherhood to be a potentially blissful experience, that motherhood as an institution under patriarchy does give women a lot of problems, but this is due to patriarchy not motherhood itself as there is nothing essentially oppressive about children.

Dual Systems Theory

Delphy (1984) argues that the exploitative system is characterized as a domestic mode of production which is parallel to, but separate from the capitalist mode of production which exists simultaneously. Hartmann (1981) claims that women are forced to marry on bad terms because of their weak position in the labour market, as a result of patriarchal closure in employment. She goes on to use the ‘time-budget’ studies to show that husbands were a net drain on the time of a woman, not shares of domestic burden.

On Violence

Male violence against women includes rape, sexual assault, wife beating, workplace sexual harassment and child sex abuse. Brown Miller (1976) argues that men are brought up to be the Macho and are accustomed to using violence to settle disputes. The cultivation of violence among men finds its peak in the army in which many young men spend a portion of their lives ‘glorifying the male strength’, and that in periods of militarization and warfare the amount of rape goes up that is usual.

Davis (1981) critiques Brown Miller on the grounds of insensitivity to race and class issues. Hanmer and Saunders (1984) argue that the refusal of the state to intervene on the level of welfare provision and the other of the criminal justice system. Upon the examination of divorce petitions O’Brien (1975) came to a conclusion that men’s violence was more likely to be cited if the husband:

  • Was Less educated than his wife
  • Had a lower occupation than the woman’s father
  • Was dissatisfied with his job
  • Failed to complete high school or college
  • Had disputes with the wife over the adequacy of the husbands income
  1. The State Level
  2. Patriarchal relations at the State

Radical Feminists: The state is defined as a specific set of social institutions/body which has the monopoly over legitimate coercion in a given territory or in terms of its function in monitoring social cohesion in a class society. Millet (1977:23) refers to the term politics as the power structured relationships, arrangements whereby one group of persons is controlled by another. She goes ahead and claims that the relationship between sexes is political. Hanmer and Saunders (1984) sees men’s violence as critical in the maintenance of the oppression of women and the lack of intervention of the state to prevent is analysed as being the state’s collusion. Hamner (1978) in ‘Violence and the Social Control of Women’ sees the state as an instrument of patriarchal domination, its non-intervention part of the logic of the patriarchal system.

Dual Systems Theory

Eisenstein (1979) contends that patriarchy contributes to especially order and control, while capitalism provides the economic system driven by the pursuit of profit, the two are fused at the level of the state. Hernes (1984) in the context of the Norwegian State is concerned with a society which is ostensibly granting women equal rights with men. The state is important both because women have entered the labour market often as employees of the state and also because of the extension of state services which has been necessary for their movement from household to market work.


The radical feminist approach sees patriarchy as a dynamic system in which men usually give up an activity only when they no longer wish to undertake it. There has also been a shift in patriarchal  strategy from exclusivity to segregationist and subordinating.


  • Sylvia Walby, “Theorizing Patriarchy”, (Basil Blackwell Ltd., Cambridge, 1991
  • Kenneth Waltz, “Man, The State and War”, (New York, NY: Columbia University Press, 1954)
  • Brown Miller 1976, Firestone 1974, Rich 1980

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  • Okwemba Joel
  • Research & Policy Consultant
  • June, 2015.
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Post Kyoto Negotiations : The Road to Paris



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The Kyoto protocol has since its inception taken center stage discussions on its effectiveness as an international mechanism on climate change  since its inception-the effectiveness of each of the flexibility provisions must be reviewed after the first commitment period and a report sent to the COP. The report should cover issues and problems identified in relation to the operation of any general market in emission credits that emerges or is mandated under the Kyoto Protocol. Problems identified in the report must then be rectified.

On the other hand, effective monitoring and verification of emissions and of transfers of assigned amounts were key as the basis of the Kyoto Protocol. Without this there was and can be no guarantee that the Protocol was delivering real emissions reductions and environmental benefits, or a real basis on which to assess Parties’ compliance with their commitments. Monitoring and verification are thus central to any internationally credible agreement as well as to its long-term success.

On the contrary, green house gas emissions from developing countries are allegedly rising rapidly. On a per capita basis, they will still remain far below those of the developed countries well into the future. However, total emissions from developing countries are projected to surpass those of the developed countries within a decade or two. This therefore stresses the need to fully engage developing countries in  negotiations while at the same time secure their right to develop sustainably.

Any effort to more fully engage developing countries in the international climate regime or to steer investment and technology flows towards climate friendly development, must take account of circumstances and trends that shape present development patterns and condition possibilities for the future.  The current phase of  climate negotiations should adapt and strengthen strategies that will secure the face of humanity in environmental sustainability.

This will require mitigation commitments stronger than what the Kyoto Protocol provided by all parties in accordance to the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities under the Convention. The new agreement should also address the needs of those who, despite such efforts will and continue to bear the consequences of a changing climate.

On 2015 Negotiations,

In assessing the options that are workable and present at the moment there is need to redefine the approach that negotiators then take if targeting a legally binding agreement that will encompass all sovereign states to take responsibility of the problem of climate change aside national interests and assume a global community. Previous efforts at the Unite Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change have bore minimal results compared to the expectations from the global community.  Its failure to come up with one due to wrangles within parties with regard to their various national interests probably calls for a shift in ideology in tackling environmental issues internationally.

Post Kyoto negotiations have evolved with geopolitics around the world becoming more and more dynamic. Perhaps the most prominent is capitalizing in ensuring that mechanisms in Kyoto’s successor take a hybrid approach . Bodansky and Diringer agree that “The functionality of the hybrid approach is pegged mediating between competing dynamics in the climate change debate. this is by giving states the flexibility in defining and/or modifying their commitments . But, on the other hand , seeking to bind national flexibility through internationally agreed rules, which promote greater ambitions. “[1]

The negotiations have in the recent past bore fruit of such outcomes in decisions on national processes like Internally Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs), National Adaptation Plans (NAPs) and Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions (NAMAs). In these decisions,

Decision 1/CP.19 on INDCs, to further advancing the Durban Platform. http://unfccc.int/documentation/documents/advanced_search/items/6911.php?priref=600007788

Decision 1/CP.20 on how to make the communications. http://unfccc.int/files/meetings/lima_dec_2014/application/pdf/auv_cop20_lima_call_for_climate_action.pdf

These process must be guided by principles in the convention and guidelines agreed upon by states to the submission of these elements. There is however questions on whether such efforts to ensure hybridity in the forth coming international mechanism to address climate change would help in gaining trust from countries. This however has garnered  criticism on the basis that there is a thin line between ensuring hybridity and at the same time working within the limits of principles under the convention of common but differentiated responsibilities.

This at the time of instituting the convention were drawn on the basis of ensuring sustainable development and collective responsibility and in accordance to Art 3, 1 of the  Convention That parties should protect  the climate system for the benefit of présent and future générations of humankind, on the basis of equity and in accordance with their common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities. See http://unfccc.int/files/essential_background/background_publications_htmlpdf/application/pdf/conveng.pdf

The process as noted has been marred by non committal tendencies by states in the past. Paris is expected to deliver to the expectations of many citizens of the earth whose survival is solely based on the existence and management of the environment and climate for sustainable development.  The Negotiating text as it is commonly referred to has all options common to parties as they were negotiated in February 2015 in Geneva. This laid a foundation into future ADP negotiations to follow beginning with the Bonn intercessions in June, 2015 in Bonn, Germany.

Even with this, Bonn is expected to provide an outcome as good as an agreement for adoption in Paris at COP 21 meetings. For Africa, going into the negotiations and following up on national processes especially on the Intended Nationally Determined Contributions requires a lot of strategy and unity as a negotiating block within the negotiations. As Africa and the global South engages, it is important to ensure that the Intended Nationally Determined Contributions related texts in the African position make explicit reference to local and indigenous knowledge in alignment with the Cancun Adaptation Framework and the decisions relative to Nairobi Work Program out of Warsaw.

There is an urgent need in Africa to address safeguards of the rights of forest peoples and other natural resource dependent communities in government and private adaptation and mitigation measures. More attention needs to be given to participation, consensus building, rights-based approaches as well as conserving natural ecosystems as the front-line of climate defense.

African should emphasize the need to reference past negotiation outcomes in current negotiations and outcomes. Also, reference and emphasis should be made to ensure that all this is done in accordance to the principles under the Convention. Hence Africa should emphasize this for general purposes of all elements in the agreement in the preamble. Also key for the African position in the negotiations is to ensure that our position recognizes the efforts of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change as well as other credible scientific platforms as basis to act on climate.

On Mitigation, the position should indicate that all parties shall make individual effort and cooperate on enhancing mitigation ambition to ensure that the aggregate level of mitigation commitments and contribution is increased over time to achieve long term emission reduction targets in the context of Article 2 of the Convention. Africa should also emphasize sustainable development pathways to mitigation more so as communicated in the Intended Nationally Determined Contributions.

All these should be accompanied by information aimed at enhancing clarity, transparency and understanding of commitments and contribution and actions  that are quantifiable including an appropriate base year, time frames and periods of implementation, scope and coverage, planning processes, assumptions and methodological approaches  especially on estimation and accounting. This consideration especially because the Kyoto Protocol had these as it’s loopholes hence mistrust among Parties in implementation.

On adaptation and loss and damage, All Parties in accordance with principles and provisions of the Convention, Article 4 and there common but differentiated responsibilities and previous decisions of the COP to commit to cooperate to adapt to adverse effects of climate change, ensure resilience and protect citizens and ecosystems in the context of long term temperature limits and achievement of Sustainable development goal.

There is need for the position to be clear on funding, insurance, and technology transfer to meet the needs of developing countries arising from impact of implementation of response measures, in accordance with the principles and provisions of the Convention and taking into recognition poverty reduction, human rights and human insecurity as priorities in developing countries.


Considering unemployment rates in Africa, the negotiations should consider economic issues including just transition of workforce and creation of decent work and quality decent jobs, in accordance with nationally defined development priorities. Considering the damage and strain of adapting to the effects of climate change, loss and damage should be considered as a separate element from adaptation in the negotiations.

There is need to recognize that inadequate mitigation and insufficient adaptation leads to more loss and damage and that financial and technical support should be made available to vulnerable countries and communities to address loss and damage. With this considerations,reference should be made to the Warsaw International Mechanism for Loss and Damage associated with impacts of climate change. The negotiations should define the purpose of the Warsaw International Mechanism on Loss and Damage and it’s functionality in light with the agreement either as embedded in the agreement or defined separately.

[1] Daniel Bodansky & Diringer, Building Flexibility and Ambition into a 2015 Climate Agreement, Center for Climate and Energy Solutions, June 2014.

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  • June, 2015.
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Deterring the Devil



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Deterrence as a Counter-Terrorism Strategy

“Deterrence is the art of producing, in the mind of the enemy, the fear to attack”

In the 21st century, terrorism has become ubiquitous in international relations and its study.  Some believe that today’s terrorism is a new phenomenon, citing its predominantly Islamic fundamentalist nature and rising prevalence.  But terrorism is nothing new in the history of international relations.  Terrorism is in some ways the volcano of international relations, sometimes it sends rumbles through society and sometimes it even changes the socio-political landscape; but at other times it lies dormant as an ineffective tool of politics.  September 11, 2001 was the metaphorical eruption of modern terrorism.  Technological advances in information communications, like the Internet and 24 Hour news media outlets, gave new effectiveness to the messages that could be raised through terrorism.  But what is the mechanism of international relations that can deal with this offshoot strategy of modern warfare? Nevertheless, as long as states can deter some terrorists from engaging in certain types of terrorist activity, deterrence should be an essential element of a broader counter-terrorism strategy.

Strategies for Deterring Terrorism

  • Direct Retaliation
  • Indirect Retaliation
  • Tactical Denial
  • Strategic Denial

Direct Retaliation Strategy

Direct response strategies are those that aim to deter an adversary by threatening to retaliate against the adversary for taking hostile action. This type of strategy is probably the most widely understood form of deterrence. These strategies also are sometimes referred to as ‘‘retaliation’’ or ‘‘punishment’’ strategies. While it may be true that it is difficult to deter suicide bombers with retaliatory threats, not all members of a terrorist network are suicide bombers. Many terrorist leaders, financiers, supporters, radical clerics, and other members of terrorist networks value their lives and possessions. Simple threats of imprisonment and death against these actors can deter terrorist activity. For example, the United Kingdom has shown that threatening imprisonment can deter radical clerics from preaching incendiary sermons. Other members of a terrorist organization’s support network also can be deterred by simple threats of retaliation.[1]

According to a 9/11 Commission Staff Report, for example, the Saudi government’s enhanced scrutiny of donors after 9/11 appears to have deterred some terrorist financing. The lesson for counter-terrorism is clear: the simple threat to punish individuals engaging in terrorist activity can have a significant deterrent effect. Moreover, terrorist organizations themselves might also be deterred by the threat of retaliation. While it has become cliche´ to point out that terrorists lack a return address, many successful organizations actually depend heavily on a safe haven from which to operate. Hamas controls Gaza, Hezbollah has Lebanon, and before 9/11 al-Qaeda was extended a safe haven in Afghanistan. To the degree that a state can threaten to revoke an important safe haven, terrorist leaders may be deterred.[2]

Indirect Retaliation Strategy

Indirect response strategies are those that deter by threatening to retaliate, not against terrorists themselves, but against something else that terrorists hold dear. While it is sometimes difficult to retaliate against specific terrorists, states may be able to threaten (or convince terrorists that their own actions might harm) other things they value such as their families, assets, and communities. An example of an indirect response strategy is Israel’s past policy of demolishing the homes of suicide bombers’ families. Israel could not threaten to punish suicide bombers themselves because they were dead after a successful attack, but it did retaliate against their families. Alternatively, states may be able to employ strategies that aim merely to shape terrorists’ perceptions about how terrorist activity could negatively affect their families and communities.[3]

Professor Thomas Schelling has argued that radical Islamic terrorists may be deterred from conducting a biological attack if they become convinced that the outbreak of a communicable disease in the West, given the inter-connectedness of the modern world, could make its way back to, and kill many Muslims in, the Middle East. In addition, states can threaten to deny strategic success e.g., communicate that demands for withdrawal of Kenyan  troops from Somalia will not be met, even in the face of terrorist attacks.[4]

Tactical Denial

Tactical denial strategies are those that, simply put, threaten failure at the tactical level. They deter terrorism by threatening to deny terrorists the ability to successfully conduct an attack. If terrorists believe that an attack is likely to fail, they will be less motivated to waste time and resources by attempting to carry it out. Given the value that terrorists place on operational success, states can deter terrorism by convincing terrorists that operations are likely to fail. For this reason, simple homeland security measures can deter terrorist attacks. Improving domestic intelligence and hardening key targets are strong deterrents to attack. Indeed, we know of many cases in which terrorists were deterred from carrying out an attack by the fear of failure. For example, an Al-Qaeda affiliate planned to attack a U.S. military base in Turkey in late 2003, but the United States improved its defenses at the site during the planning stages, and the terrorists called off the attack.[5]

Strategic Denial

Strategic denial policies deter terrorism by threatening to deny terrorists strategic benefits, even in the face of successful terrorist attacks. In this way, strategic denial strategies seek to break the perceived link between successful terrorist operations and the goals they intended to serve. Terrorists may be deterred from attacking if they believe that even a string of highly successful attacks will not help them achieve those broader political goals. A strategy of systematically denying terrorists’ strategic objectives begins with identifying those objectives.

Many terrorist organizations share a basic strategy: terrorists attack civilian targets to terrorize the population protected by that government. Terrorists hope that the terrorized populace will then pressure the government to take action to stop the mayhem. Finally, terrorists hope that, in response to popular pressure, governments will concede to the terrorists’ political demands in exchange for a cessation of violence. States can deter terrorism by identifying and denying, rather than ceding, the objectives sought in the terror strategy. For example, some countries have learned to limit media coverage of terror attacks to reduce the publicity sought by terrorist organizations. Simply limiting coverage of terrorist attacks can reduce the publicity benefits sought by those organizations. For example, following the terrorist attacks on a resort in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt in the summer of 2005, Egyptian authorities draped a giant white sheet over the damaged hotel. When television crews arrived to get footage of a gaping, smoking hole in the side of the building, what they got instead was a blank white screen.[6]

Some terrorists might be driven more by ideological goals than by politics. Still, even these individuals could be deterred if the United States can deny them these non material objectives. For example, states can  work with mainstream Muslim clerics to point out that suicide is contrary to Islamic teachings. If individuals increasingly doubt whether a suicide mission will lead to personal salvation, they may calculate that the costs of terrorist activity outweigh the benefits.

This is a comprehensive framework for deterring terrorist networks. We argue that deterrence can only achieve partial success and will only ever be a component, not the cornerstone, of counter-terrorism strategy. Despite its limited role, deterrence is an essential part of an effective counter-terrorism approach.


  1. [1] Thomas Schelling, Arms and Influence (Yale University Press, 1967).
  2. [2] Lloyd De Vries, ‘‘Turks Bust Alleged Qaeda Plotter,’’ CBS News, December 19, 2003, http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2003/12/17/terror/main588982.shtml
  3. [3] Efraim Benmelech, Claude Berrebi, and Esteban Klor, ‘‘Counter-Suicide-Terrorism: Evidence from House Demolitions,’’ working paper presented at UCSD IGCC Terrorism Research Conference, San Diego, CA, June 27, 2009
  4. [4] Thomas Schelling, interview with the author, Zurich, Switzerland, November 2009.
  5. [5] Matthew Kroenig & Barry Pavel, How to Deter Terrorism, The Washington Quarterly, Spring 2012, p.25
  6. [2] Ibid, p.25

Report Summary derived from the Center of Strategic & International Studies (CSIS), Washington Quarterly Spring 2012 by Matthew Kroenig & Barry Pavel

Link: http://csis.org/files/publication/TWQ_12Spring_Kroenig_Pavel.pdf

New Africa



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I am a PAN-AFRICANIST. I love African values, African diverse cultures, and the sense that I relate to Africa as the cradle of mankind. More to that, I love the sound of an African beat, especially those drum sounds in kwaito songs, and yes, Fuse O.D.G is my favorite African act, and through his unending campaign of promoting Africa to the rest of the world, I respect him and his work. I share the same sentiments, and every day I wake up, zealous to make a difference where I can, since I believe change begins with me .I however have a problem, the political systems in Africa are failing. I have a problem with the leadership and kind of governance we have in the continent.

Africa has at one point been described  as a continent which is richly endowed with human and mineral resources and yet is the poorest continent in the world; a continent which has tracts of arable land large enough to feed continents, yet which cannot feed itself; a continent which is blessed with lakes and large rivers and yet suffers from droughts and where her people die of thirst; and, the strangest paradox of all—the poorest continent on earth which has some of the world’s wealthiest leader.

A World Bank research notes that African nations range from sophisticated, middle-income countries such as South Africa, to failed states such as Somalia; from large, oil-rich countries such as Nigeria, to small resource-poor countries such as Niger; from countries that have come out of conflict and have experienced tremendous recent success, such as Mozambique and Rwanda, to countries trapped in conflict, poverty, and poor government such as Somalia

The post-colonial era has seen Africa become the center of criticism due to the poor governance, failed institutions, and rampant conflicts in the continent. This is unlike the colonial period where the colonial powers were seen to have more order and proper working systems of government.

We have seen the erosion of democracy as tyrannical regimes have seized power, with self-interested leaders undermining the will of the people. However, African countries have displayed an absence of even the most basic essentials of democratic government in post–independence. Personalization of power, repression of human rights, and rent-seeking leaders being the order of the day.

If Kwame Nkrumah would wake up today, what would he think?  If Julius Nyerere woke up today, would he be proud of what he fought for? If Sankara woke up today would he applaud us, Patrice Lumumba, the democracy he died for is just in writing. We are putting to shame the legacy these great people left behind.

As AFRICANS, let us stop being our own enemy. We need to rise up to the occasion, and work together, and change the perception about Africa. Let us be responsible for the change we want!!!

Africa needs leaders who are true servants, not self-interested individuals who are power seeking. Leaders who can handle the  responsibility of ruling a nation, without discrimination or favor, men and women who are committed to deliver to a continent which is slowly becoming a laughing stock in the international community due to continued failure of  governments and institutions. And finally, leaders who have principles and values, who can draw the line between right and wrong, guided by ethics and a strong character.


Written By: @MwaiLaban

For: Center for International and Security Affairs
This Article does not represent the opinions of the Organization but the writer.

Image: Courtesy of Pinterest


Post Conflict Stabilization Process



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A Kenyan Case Study 2007 – 2015


This article looks at the structure of conflict management in Kenya with an end of determining the entry point into making impact-full change in conflict prone zones. The structure of the document is divided into the types of conflicts, overview of the existing frameworks, the progress made by the responsible authorities, the challenges facing the processes and finally the gap areas and entry points to Peace Building and Conflict Management.

The Nature of Conflict

The sources of conflict in Kenya varies from region to region. The National Policy on Peace Building and Conflict Management outlines the nature of conflicts in Kenya as[1]:

  • Conflicts in Pastoral Areas – These are experienced in the North Rift, North Eastern, Eastern and Coast Regions in Kenya due to unpredictable climatic conditions; Livestock Rustling; Banditry.
  • Cross-Border Conflicts – These happen along Kenya’s borders with Somalia, Ethiopia, Sudan, Uganda and Tanzania
  • Agro-Pastoralist Conflicts
  • Land Conflicts – These arise due to the Politicization of land; conflicting land tenure and land use systems; Border and boundaries disputes; and  Land related conflicts such as squatter problems, evictions, excision of forests, illegal allocations.
  • Urban Conflicts – Includes Industrial and Labor disputes; Land Lord and tenant disputes; Urban crime, Squalid conditions of slum life.
  • Human-Wildlife Conflicts
  • Institutional Conflicts- For instance Students’ riots
  • Religious Conflicts
  • Organized Criminal Groups “Vigilante”

Since the Post-Election Violence 2007/2008, the country underwent a number of structural reforms in relation to Conflict Management and Peace Building. Notable among these is the National Policy on Peace Building and Conflict Management.The policy is founded in six key pillars, these are:

  • Institutional Framework – The institutions created are: The National Peace Council, The Secretariat, Peace Fora, Peace Committees.
  • Capacity Building – This is not limited to the training of stakeholders in conflict prevention, resource mobilization, peace building, conflict sensitivity and alternative conflict resolution mechanisms.
  • Conflict Prevention -This pillar is cognizant of the need for timely and accurate effective early warning and response systems; Effective dialogue on the latent conflict issues; Contingency Resources and capacity for rapid response; Monitoring restoration of normalcy and stabilization of situations; Systematic and structured efforts to learn from conflict events as they occurso that each new response builds on what has been learned already.
  • Mediation and Preventive Diplomacy -This Unit has the role of establishing a core team of rapid deployment associates who can be deployed at short notice for interventions regarding peace making issues within the country and cross-border areas.
  • Traditional Conflict Prevention and Mitigation – There’s recognition of the position of the community declarations and social contracts in line with the constitution, tolerance for cultural diversity, harmonize traditional conflict resolution procedures with basic international human rights standard and the constitution in particular.
  • Post-Conflict Recovery and Stabilization – This scope includes displacement of populations, resettlement and re-integration. Interventions will include all measures aimed at rebuilding destroyed relationships, livelihoods and infrastructure, healing processes to address conflict related trauma and psycho-social destabilization. Pro-active peace building, entrenching a culture of Peace and non-violence.

The policy in the process of institutionalizing peace created various infrastructure to this end. These include:

  • The Ministry of Interior
  • The National Peace Council (Pending)
  • The Council Secretariat (Which will serve the coordination role that the current National Steering Committee on PBCM plays)
  • The County Peace Secretariat
  • Local Peace Committees
  • Stakeholders’ Peace Fora
  • The Legal Framework

Whereas these framework exists there are other response mechanisms that have been instrumental in Kenya. At the state level such mechanisms include:

  • Commissions of Inquiry
  • Disarmament (The creation of a policy on SALW, Dunisha Amani I $ II 200–2009)
  • Conflict Early Warning and Response
  • Judicial Systems
  • Community Based Response

At the regional level, there have been initiatives by Regional Economic Blocs such as AU, NEPAD, IGAD,EAC, Nairobi Protocol; through the Kenya National Dialogue and Reconciliation Process which culminated in the The National Accord and Reconciliation Act (2008) and its 4 Agenda Items[2].

Other responses have come from Non-Governmental Organizations (not limited to The Media, Civil Society Organizations and the Private Sector), Collaborative Responses, Humanitarian Responses, Inter-State Initiatives (CEWARN 2002, Joint Cross Border Committees, The Joint East Africa Police Commissioners Co-operation-EAPCCO, Regional Centre on Small Arms-RECSA, NEPAD).

There has been progress made by the state responses in partnership with development partners and the Non-State Actors. Some of the progress is in the establishment of The National Steering Committee on Peace Building and Conflict Management which has Four Sub-Committees. These are:

  • Technical Sub-Committee
  • Media and Communication
  • Conflict Analysis Group
  • Capacity Building and Training Sub-Committee

Among the accomplishments made by the Capacity Building and Training Sub-Committee include:

  • Conflict Analysis and Mapping leading to the violent free 2010 referendum
  • Conflict Prevention and Transformation Project- June 2008-March 2010 (this training was conducted on DOs, DCs, APs, Kenya Police)
  • Training on SALW in Provincial Peace Fora, District Peace Committees, Divisional Peace Committees, Locational and Sub-Locational Peace Committees
  • Conducted Rapid Needs Assessment for select District Peace Committees across the country with UNDP March 2008 where some were fully equipped in their offices
  • Facilitation of the revalidation of the Modogashe Declaration in 2005 $ 2010
  • Development of a database for trainers, trainees and organizations involved in peace work

The National Cohesion and Integration Commission has conducted several activities around Peace Building:

  • Active Citizens Workshop for Community Facilitators held on 2-3rd March 2015 in Nakuru, 5-6th March 2015 in Kisii. This is a social leadership programme which promotes inter-cultural dialogue and social responsibility as key leadership competencies.
  • The County Security Structure dialogue on 10/02/2015
  • Lamu County Boma Commitment on Promotion of Peace and Cohesion 14-17 Sept 2014
  • Capacity Building Workshop on Education Stakeholders in Uasin Gishu County 22-23 Sept 2014, In Isiolo County 18-19 August 2014, In Kitui 21-22 August.
  • There is existence of the Rift-Valley, Coastal, Eastern Provincial Peace Foruma, Various Peace Committees whose work has impacted societies. The challenges experienced by the Local Peace Committees include[3]:
  • Legitimacy- A legal Framework to avoid politicization of the process
  • Money- conflict provokation for remuneration to resolve. “sitting allowance complications”
  • Funding- External funding to get donor dependency, conversion to NGOs e.g. Wajir Committee
  • Politics- Frustration to accomodate politicians’ interests e.g Membership/support
  • Unclear Structures- Formed by different people, different times, different reasons
  • Leadership and Ethnicity- tyranny of numbers
  • Gender and Relationship to traditional structures
  • Tension between traditional institutions and Peace Committees

The NCIC Conducted a research to determine the Social Cohesion Index, these were the findings:

Indices Percentage
Trust 43.7
Peace 40.1
Identity 72.7
Diversity 88.6
Prosperity 60.5
Equity 34.6
Social Cohesion Index 56.6

There is clear that the areas that scored highly are the “negatives” while the “positives” scored poorly, implying that a lot of work needs to go into Peace-Building exercises to close down the 43.4% lack of cohesion in the state.

The structure has faults that should be looked into with urgency as procrastination of Peace is welcoming of violence. The gaps that exist are[4]:

  • Weak value systems including erosion of our national values Inadequate Consultation on governance issues
  • Limited Networking for Peace
  • Inadequate Capacity building for peace
  • Inadequate inter-faith dialogue
  • Limited research and analysis of conflict
  • Weak reconciliation and healing initiatives
  • Absence of Standard Operating procedure for peace actors
  • Inadequate resource mobilization
  • Limited Peace Education Campaigns
  • Ineffective mechanisms to address cross-border conflicts


Participation into the Nation-building process, in particular peace and reconciliation areas is sensitive while at the same time fulfilling since unity achieved can drive any other sector of the state to prosperity.

[1] The National Policy on Peace Building and conflict Management, Government of Kenya, 2011

[2] The Agenda Items are:

  1. Immediate Action to stop violence and restore fundamental rights and liberties
  2. Immediate measures to address the humanitarian crisis, promote reconciliation and healing
  3. How to overcome the political crisis
  4. Address long-term issues

[3] see http://www.insightonconflict.org/committed-peace-creating-conflict-case-kenyas-local-peacebuilding-committees/

[4] This is according to the National Policy on Peace Building and Conflict Management 2011

For More Info: Joel Okwemba – @JoelOkwemba
For: Center for International and Security Affairs
This Article does not represent the opinions of the Organization but the writer.

Revisiting Postmodernism



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Disarming Critics of Postmodernism:

In researching Michel Foucault I decided to revisit his premise of power in postmodernism. Postmodernism is the thinking which believes that truth does not exist or is incomprehensible. Truth is observed as being relative to the culture. For example, when describing the Islamic, Judaism and Christianity culture system, which embraces the God-given code of interactions of family, government, relationships and way of life often imply that these codes of interactions may be “true” for only those people who subscribe to those belief systems, but people in other cultures see things quite differently. This viewpoint reflects the universal influence of postmodernism in today’s social political and educational system.

Postmodernists in essence believe that truth is outlined by each individual or group culture. Truth is relative, not universal. If truth is defined by each culture, then it is not real truth. Truth, by its nature, is universal. Truth is absolute. Relative truth is not truth. Postmodernists replace the word “truth” with words like perspectives, constructs or points of view. That is, they believe the best we can do is describe how various societies view the world; but we cannot postulate to know what is true.

Postmodernism is largely the outcome of Charles Darwin theory of evolution because Darwinism discredits the notion of knowledge. Darwinism is the understanding that all reality consists of nature plus time plus chance. That means that our ideas, including what we may think is factual, also consist of nature plus time plus chance. The way we reason is based on how well each person presents his truth, how well he or she eloquently makes his case appealing or how powerful the individual or group is, and is able to enforce his truth on the weak and disfranchised; as a result both cultures see things differently, but neither understanding can be viewed as better, or more true, than the other.

The exercise of power is not merely a bond between people, individual or the masses; it is a way in which certain actions alter others. Power exists only when it is put into action; this also means that power is not a function of agreement. Individuals or groups don’t just renounce what they believe in  out of acceptance of others people beliefs, they are either pressed on, assimilated or colonized either by force or through mind control. Consent is not a trait for power it exists out of postmodernism way of thinking.

The Critique:

  • The Fallacy:  Individuals or people believe their truth is based on their critical and objective analysis.
  • The Reality: Individual or peoples truth is the outcome of years of paying devotion to ideas which confirmed what you believed while ignoring information which challenged your preconceived beliefs.

The whole point is that men and women were born sovereign – what that means is that as we grew, we were forced onto us what is “right and wrong”, through powerful forces like the Media , therefore making our belief system a fallacy to us only, thus making it a lie to other people who have different belief systems.

If you are a politician who has the power of wealth and artistic language mastery, you can impose your own views on the ignorant and weak minded individuals or masses and make them believe in something that goes against their very premise of their existence.

In closing, what individuals or people live with is what I may refer to as a seduction of plagiarized truths and it appears to be sufficiently strong and pervasive that one is led to wonder whether the truth, by itself, might account for a significant fraction of the wars, conflicts, terrorism and intolerance that is currently occurring among individuals and masses within the international system

For More info: @Issacks_Theory

This Article does not Represent the Opinions of the Organization but the researcher



Coming of the BIG ‘O’



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Barrack Obama, the 44th and first African-American president of the United States will be coming to Kenya in July, following confirmed reports. As opposed to the general expectation of euphoric excitement from Kenyans, Kenyans seem to have received the news with much grace, not common to us. Maybe this being the fourth trip to Africa, the “Obama is coming to Africa” elation has died down. At this point, Barrack Obama’s ties to Africa, and Kenya in particular is basic, common knowledge. So much so, that political analysts in the United States describe this fact as a political headache to Obama domestically. The president of the “Mighty” United States has had to defend his nationality claims from fringe groups in the US, known as “birthers” to the extent of having to produce his birth certificate in self (nationality) defense. What a strange predicament for the world’s hegemonic leader!

Inline image 1


In January 2009, Barrack Obama assumed office amidst ecstatic jubilation around the globe. Perhaps the world was astounded that one of the most racially prejudiced states had finally overcome the vice, by electing an African-American (Black) into the most powerful office not only in the US, but also in the world. It was a whole different story in Kenya. Not only was Obama the most powerful man then, and maybe now too, but he was also partly Kenyan! We were going to get direct flights to the US. Maybe even free of charge! Kenya and the US were now going to be bosom allies. Unlimited funding. Top of the range training for our soldiers, say, to match the US SEALS, the list WAS endless.


Come 2013, Kenyans elect an inductee of the ICC, and voila! Obama gives Kenya a wide berth during his visit to Africa in 2013, including to our immediate neighbor, and nemesis, Tanzania. It was preposterous! Kenyans “caught feelings” like it has never been seen before. The sun begins to shine on Kenyans once more, when after his re-election, president Obama indicates that he would visit the country before his second term in office came to an end. I must share this though with you. The day the US president announced these sentiments, was the day, I, personally understood that as the strongest indication that Kenya’s presidents’ case at the ICC was on its death bed. Call it discernment. I digress. To say that we were embarrassed by Obama’s nonchalance with Kenya is an understatement. We were dismayed! Our own “son”! We love prestige, fame, we think ourselves better to the rest of Africa. That is who we are. International relations and politics aside, it is always about us, Kenyans, what we want, what we wish. And this is where we terribly miss the point.


We miss to see the point that since president Barrack came into power, there has been increased foreign policy interaction with Africa. In July 2015, Obama will be in Kenya for the Global Entrepreneurship Summit. The GES, is an annual entrepreneurship summit, a brain child of president Obama, through which entrepreneurship was elevated to the forefront of the United States’ engagement agenda during the historic speech in Cairo, Egypt in 2009.

Since then, the Obama government has organized 5 GES that have since elevated entrepreneurship on the global agenda, inspiring new generations of innovators to choose entrepreneurship as a profession. The previous GES was held in Marrakech, Morocco, where the Obama administration committed approximately 3.2 billion USD to support micro, small and medium sized enterprises, and mobilized 800 million USD in private capital for start-up acceleration in the developing world.[i] The 6th GES will be taking place in July in Nairobi, Kenya.


The 6th Summit in Kenya will focus on generating new investments in entrepreneurship, particularly for women and young entrepreneurs. The choice of venues for this Summit should not come as a surprise for anyone. The Summit underscores the fact that Kenya has become a center for innovation and entrepreneurship, specifically in technological innovations involving mobile money transfer such as M-pesa and Airtel money. Kenya is in fact a world leader in this field. Kenya is evidently also a driver of innovation through creative spaces such as iHub. Besides these, Kenya also boasts a pool of young innovators such as Kelvin Macharia Kuria of Sunrise Tracking solutions and social entrepreneurs such as Heshan de Silva (allegations aside). This, dear Kenyans, is the main reason why the big “O” is making his way here. It is not about what we want, not about him having roots in Kenya. It is substantial, political, and economic. It is business, not a friendly checkup. And this, is what we should truly be proud about. Substance, our achievements, and not mere wishful and romantic thinking.

(I take this chance to pay tribute to the 147 students brutally murdered by the cruel act of terrorism. Terrorism is a philosophy of cowards. #147NotJustaNumber)

For more info: @MonicaNganga3

Author: Wambui Nganga

For Center for International and Security Affairs This Article does not Represent the Opinions of the Organization but the author


[i] Press release, The White House, Office of the Press Secretary, November 20th, 2014


The Lucrative Business of Defense



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Buying and selling of arms today is rather a back alley profit making business ever since the end of the Cold War. It has been off the mainstream media especially in developing countries and it has become hard to grasp its activities because of the sophisticated nature of the trade.

Security in the Horn of Africa region continues to significantly decline due to the existence of these trade of arms. The constant supply and high demand of small arms only make it easier to find them but in the wrong hands. The Horn is mostly characterized by pastoralists fight for scarce resources and brutal cattle raids which has been exacerbated by the gun trade.


Disarmament which is a term used to describe the reduction of arms in an area for the greater good of that region. In Africa, specifically the Horn of Africa, the term disarmament has not been in use since the beginning of the Cold War and this fore saw the Proliferation of Small arms and Light weapons. Disarmament has been a rather difficult process because the acquisition of arms has been welcomed into developing states society.

There is a satisfying feeling one gets from the sound of equal distribution of resources. Not many political leaders share this view of equal distribution of resources as a right that every citizen should enjoy, politicians believe that their ”people” have a legitimate right to their ancestral resources. This is very true for residents of northern Kenya as they know this too well. A lowly pastoralist in Northern part of Kenya does not fully understand resource allocation and especially on security matters therefore they do it on their own will in the knowing that no government forces can establish order in this vast barren land. It is not unusual to find a Samburu man herding his cattle while wielding an AK47 besides it’s quite the norm. They look for alternatives if the government cannot provide security.

These weapons are easily accessible and reliable to them. Yes accessibility and the reliability of these weapons continue to prove that disarmament around the Horn has been buried deep in the arid grounds of the area. It is easy to spot a malnourished teenage boy walking around with a gun almost as heavy as he is protecting his younger siblings from the dangers he only knows so well. Since the end of the Cold War these small arms and light weapons have only been increasing and security threats spring up and continue to characterize the Horn region.

Such an environment only nurtures aggressive human behavior and this will only lead to an unending conflict. This fact can further be explained by what Kenneth Waltz described as Neo-Realism. Neo-Realism claims that the structure of the international system has shaped the behavior of states. This can ultimately be used to see how human behavior has been molded by the environment they live in i.e. The Samburu are forced to bear arms because the environment they live in is not secure for their livestock and livelihood, and therefore lead to more purchasing of arms and increased insecurity.

African states do face a number of security threats that hinder them from achieving development but disarmament may be the hardest obstacle African countries will deal with. The fact is that arms can be used for defensive or offensive purposes and that is why they will always be in constant supply. The Western states will keep manufacturing and providing these arms and the developing states will keep purchasing them in the name of defense. Equity in resource allocations is the best way to manage the creeping in of small arms and light weapons in remote areas of African countries.

For more info on this subject Please Email:cindy19132@gmail.com or Cindy Wambua (LinkedIn)

For Center for International and Security Affairs

Lets Talk Garbage in the Intelligent City



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It came with a lot of jubilation; Kenya’s busy capital city of Nairobi has been named the most intelligent city in Africa according to the Intelligent Community Forum. Well, I must say I was impressed, and glad to be a resident of this great city.

Deep down though, was an urge to identify the reason Nairobi emerged top in Africa. The mobile payment revolution, that is M-pesa has grown the economy tremendously creating jobs and number of transactions circulating money in the system, incubation innovation with establishments such as I-hub, advancing technology and innovation from young people, vision 2030 as a government flagship has improved I.C.T in the education sector, and finally, Nairobi is said to be growing at a fast rate and will be among the world’s 40 fastest growing cities between 2010- 2016, according to a report commissioned by Citigroup in 2012. Having digested that, I could not agree more.

However, something bothers me about my intelligent city, why is there too much garbage in the streets?

An intelligent city should be well equipped with an equally intelligent garbage collection system. Or is the population not as intelligent? A short stroll in downtown Nairobi will leave you horrified, mesmerized, and perplexed. Heaps of rotting organic waste, plastic bags all over, and all sorts of litter, from plastic bottles, beer cans, used pampers, name it all on display, in our intelligent city. An initiative by the city council to put dustbins in town at strategic places leaves a lot to be desired. Most people in the city will be disgusted by the site of all these, but do nothing about it. We end up being as much the problem, when we go littering aimlessly, not conscious of the aftermath. Uptown Nairobi is a little bit different; you will see cleaners sweeping the road, sets of dustbins after few meters, for recyclable and non-recyclable, this should be replicated all over the city.

Waste management in the city has been quite a challenge. Nairobi produces 2,000 tons of solid waste daily. Garbage collection trucks end up littering more than end this menace, as they go dropping filth on the road, since they overload more than the carrying capacity, leaving a trail of foul smell since they are not closed. This is however set to change as the county government contract garbage collection companies .They came up with operation standards: ‘closed vehicles with a minimum capacity of 10 tons, branded with the company logo so that incase of illegal dumping the company can be traced, provide their clients with liner bags, which are branded with names and logos to curb illegal dumping,”

How do you manage your waste? I believe it starts with me and you, for a cleaner “intelligent city”.

For more info: @MwaLaban

Author: Mwai Laban

For Center for International and Security Affairs This Article does not Represent the Opinions of the Organization but the author

A Critique of Netanyahu’s Speech



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Netanyahu’s Speech.

A number of friends have asked me what I thought of Netanyahu’s speech. I listened to it on you-tube, then had to run off to work. With a moment after, here are some reactions.

First, this was a barn burner of a campaign speech. He is campaigning for another term as prime minister of Israel, of course; but he is also campaigning against any agreement with Iran that would bring the United States and Iran closer together and deprive Netanyahu of his favorite enemy.

In any campaign speech, or political theater, it is of course important what you say. But it is even more important what you do not say. Presumably, the difficulty of finding that balance was why Ron Dermer, the former aide to Newt Gingrich and Republican operative who is now the Israeli ambassador to Washington, left his post and spent days closeted with Netanyahu in Israel as they prepared the text.

You don’t want to include anything that will detract from your central purpose. So, what did Netanyahu leave out of his speech?

1. Iran has dramatically reduced its stockpile of enriched uranium. Remember Bibi’s cartoon bomb that was going to go off last summer? Well, it has been drained of fuel, and that will probably continue to be true indefinitely. No mention.

2. Inspections will continue long after the nominal 10-year point, contrary to his claim that everything expires in ten years. No mention.

3. The heavy water reactor at Arak will be permanently modified, so it produces near zero plutonium. Not only did he not mention it, but he listed the reactor and plutonium as one of his threats.

4. His repeated assertion that Iran is actively seeking nuclear weapons ignores the judgment “with high confidence” of both American and Israeli intelligence that Iran has taken no decision to build nuclear weapons. It also contradicts the repeated findings of the IAEA that no materials have been diverted for military purposes.

5. All the major countries of the world are co-negotiators with the United States, so a U.S. congressional intervention that killed the deal will not only affect us but all of our major allies. If we stiff them, there is no reason to believe the international sanctions will hold for long. No mention.

Are these simply oversights in the interests of time? Why did he leave out only the facts that cast doubt on his central thesis? Netanyahu claims that Iran is this powerful aggressive state that has recently taken over four countries: Iraq, Lebanon, Syria and Yemen. I’m sorry, but as someone who follows the region somewhat closely, this is simply silly. Iraq is especially peculiar.

The reason there is a Shia government in Baghdad is because George W. Bush invaded (with the very strong recommendation of Netanyahu) and installed a pro-Iranian Shia government. If this is a case of conquest, he has the wrong culprit. But then he also claims that this all-conquering regional power is also such a vulnerable state that it will quickly concede if we impose more sanctions.

He carefully avoids mentioning that we refused a deal with Iran in 2003 that would have capped its centrifuges at about 3000 and started imposing more and more sanctions. Ten years later Iran had 20,000 centrifuges and a highly developed nuclear power program. Don’t mention that, and don’t mention that Netanyahu predicted in 1992 — more than 20 years ago — that Iran would have a nuclear weapon in 3-5 years. He emphasized that Iran cannot be trusted. Agreed. But when you make an agreement with an enemy (think SALT agreements with the USSR) you do not trust, you verify. And that’s what the current negotiations are intended to produce.

His only alternative is the unicorn option: walk away from the table and Iran will cave in and agree to eliminate its entire nuclear capability. Our 36 years of dealing with Iran suggest that this is truly fantasy land. It may appeal to politicians trying to look tough, but there is no way that it will actually get Iran to modify or reduce its nuclear program. Reality: We walk, Iran resumes all of its previous enrichment policies, we have to intervene militarily, Iran builds a bomb. But don’t say that. It detracts from the message.

This was great political theater. But it insulted the intelligence of anyone who has been paying attention to the issues. How will it play in Israel? Or in the Congress as it considers its role in an agreement that seems to be getting closer to completion? In the next few weeks we will find out.

For more info: @Issacks_Theory

Author: Gary Sick – Facebook/gary.sick/posts

For Center for International and Security Affairs This Article does not Represent the Opinions of the Organization but the author.

The Kenya Diaspora Policy 2015: An Overview and Critical Analysis



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The Diaspora Commentary


  • AKCA              Association of Kenyan Communities Abroad
  • C.G.                County Government
  • F.S.I                Foreign Service Institute
  • I.E.B.C.           Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission
  • K.A.                 Kenyans Abroad
  • K.I.P.P.R.A     Kenya Institute of Public Policy Research and Analysis
  • K.N.B.S           Kenya National Bureau of Statistics
  • K.T.B.              Kenya Tourism Board
  • M.D.P.             Ministry of Devolution and Planning
  • M.E.A.C.         Ministry of East Africa, Commerce and Tourism
  • M.F.A & I.T.    Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade
  • M.I.C.N.G.      Ministry of Interior and Coordination of National Government
  • M.I.C.T.           Ministry of Information, Communication and Technology
  • M.L.S.S.          Ministry of Labor and Social Security and Services
  • MoE                Ministry of Education
  • MoH                Ministry of Health
  • M.S.C.A          Ministry of Sports, Culture and Arts
  • N.A.D.I.CO.K National Diaspora Council of Kenya
  • N.I.M.E.S.       National Integrated Monitoring Evaluation Systems
  • R.B.A.              Retirements Benefit Authority
  • T.R.A.              Tourism Regulatory Authority
  • T.R.I                Tourism Research Board
  • T.N.T               The National Treasury


  1. The absence of a policy to engage the diaspora
  2. Kenyans are passionate about their homeland
  3. Kenya has a well-trained labor force

Policy Objectives

Main Objective

  1. To maximize the potential of Kenyans abroad towards Kenya’s transformational agenda and developing long term partnership

Specific Objectives

  1. To develop and implement strategies to engage, empower, mainstream Kenyans Abroad into National Development process
  2. To mobilize KA to have umbrella bodies for easier & effective engagement & representation
  3. To develop measures to enhance protection of KA
  4. To develop mechanisms for dialogue and partnership with KA
  5. To establish institutions for coordination and administration issues facing KA

Guiding Principles

  1. Recognition
  2. Participation
  3. Engagement
  4. Empowerment
  5. Co-ordination
  6. Gender and Youth
  7. Decentralization


  1. To promote continuous dialogue with KA
  2. To enhance capacity to offer consular services
  3. Develop mechanisms of reducing the high cost of remitting money
  4. Develop an incentive framework to promote diaspora participation in national development
  5. Enhance mechanisms for protecting KA
  6. Develop an integrated database on KA
  7. Develop an up to date inventory of diaspora expertise and skills
  8. Leverage on the use of ICT enabled services
  9. Develop re-integration mechanisms for returnees
  10. Harmonize and conduct pre-departure training
  11. Develop legislative framework
  12. Promote participation in democratic process by KA
  13. Promotion of philanthropic initiatives
  14. Develop mechanisms of engagement with the diaspora youth

Institutional and Implementation Framework

Role of the National Diaspora Council of Kenya

  1.  Play an advisory role to the government on issues of KA
  2. To carry out research and benchmark with countries with best practices diaspora policies with a view of improving policies, programmes and institutional arrangements for the mutual benefit of the country and KA
  3. Consult with the MFA&IT, and stakeholders, to organize annual home coming conferences by KA
  4. Organize annual award scheme for the recognition of outstanding performance of AKCA and any other activities within and outside the country
  5. Council will operate under the MFA&IT                                                                                                                                                                                                    Role of Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies

Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade

  1.  Coordinator and Overseer of the implementation
  2. Strengthen the directorate in charge of affairs of KA which will serve as the secretariat to NADICOK
  3. Update and establish a database of KA
  4. The Foreign Service Institute will develop a curriculum on KA to and CG with the necessary skills to facilitate productive engagement with KA; this will be done through research on KA and global best practices on diaspora engagement strategies.

Ministry of Labor, Social Security and Services

  1. Establish a Labor Migration Unit to deal with labor migration issues
  2. Review Labor Institutions Act 2007, the Employment Act 2007
  3. Facilitate employment of youth in the international market

Ministry of Devolution and Planning

  1. Ensure all government agencies integrate policies
  2. youth facilitation to international job market (Youth Enterprise Development Fund Order 2007)
  3. Develop indicators for monitoring and evaluation within the framework of the NIMES
  4. Work with the KNBS, the MFA&IT and the Department of Immigration and Registration of Persons to set up database on KA
  5. Work with KIPPRA to inform public policy issues affecting KA

Ministry of Interior and Coordination of National Government

  1. Develop a policy framework on immigration
  2. Open up passport issuance centers at Kenya Diplomatic missions abroad and strengthen the overseas passport issuance section at the immigration headquarters

The National Treasury

  1. Enhance investor education and public awareness, reduce high cost of remitting money and develop investment products targeting KA
  2. Provide incentives for KA to establish philanthropic initiatives

Ministry of Education

  1. Develop a sector wide integrated education management information system to institutionalize data sharing, usage across government institutions and agencies
  2. Integrate ICT in teaching and learning, facilitate networking between KA and Kenyan educational institutions
  3. Create awareness on the ministry web portal on the educational resources available to KA and those within
  4. Encourage KA to participate in the sports, games, music, drama festivals
  5. Reform National Assessment and examinations, promote exchange programmes, market higher learning institutions
  6. Engage KA in investments in National Education Sector support programmes
  7. Advice Kenyans on most marketable courses abroad for employment sake
  8. Kenyans’ missions abroad to provide information to the ministry on skills required in their countries of accreditation
  9. Develop public education programme aimed at creating awareness to parents/students travelling for further studies abroad

Ministry of Information, Communication and Technology

  1. Create publicly and awareness through electronic, print, social media on the events taking place abroad
  2. Facilitate branding of events for KA through the Brand Kenya Board
  3. Formulate ICT Policies to facilitate access of information by the KA
  4. Enhance telecommunication infrastructure in order to facilitate universal access to information

Ministry of East African Community, Commerce and Tourism

  1. Provide accurate information on tourism investment opportunities
  2. Offer investment initiatives in the tourism industry
  3. Work with KNBS, Brand Kenya, Kenya Tourism Board, TRI
  4. Work with the Tourism Regulatory Authority to develop a framework of enabling KA to leverage on tourism business start-ups
  5. Establish “Kenya Tourism Ambassadors Programme” aimed at empowering KA to support promotion of tourism in various countries
  6. The KTB will also develop special diaspora tourism packages targeting KA and develop a partnership framework on strategic partnerships through their respective agencies in tourism source markets

Ministry of Health

  1. Articulating opportunities for health professionals abroad
  2. Maintain database of qualified health personnel’s especially for those rare professions in Kenya
  3. Promote telemedicine to enhance the quality of healthcare provision in Kenya
  4. Provide direction on investment areas for the local production of essential health products and technologies
  5. Explore ways of working with healthcare professionals abroad to carry out clinical trials on health technologies
  6. Promote free health camps and conferences in Kenya targeting the poor citizens
  7. Market the concept of medical tourism

Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission

  1. Provide a policy framework for the realization of progressive registration of KA
  2. Update the voters’ database for KA

Ministry of Sports, Culture and Arts

  1. Promote Kenyan talents abroad
  2. Work with the AU in promotion of Kiswahili as continental and International Language

County Governments

  1. Facilitate the participation of KA in County Development
  2. Develop tailor made incentives and investments targeted at KA such as the Exclusive Investment Zones

Association of Kenyan Communities Abroad

  1. Form Country umbrella associations and register them with the Kenyan diplomatic missions to enhance engagement between them and the government

Retirement Benefits Authority

  1. The RBA will establish a diaspora retirement savings scheme to provide a structured and secure mechanism upon which the diaspora will save and invest in opportunities in Kenya


  1. Keep KA informed on events and programmes at home

Through the NIMES, provide for regular consultation and feedback between agencies entrusted with the implementation of this policy.

Commentary Notes

  •  The policy is very timely and takes an expansive approach in looking at diaspora affairs. This is seen in the introduction of new ventures such as medical tourism concept, retirement savings scheme, investment in education sector, commitment to keep the KA informed on domestic news and issues.
  • The youth factor has also been considered where there is a commitment from the government to facilitate employment of the youth to international job markets. These youth will be under the Youth Enterprise Development Fund Order 2007, which will be the body with authority under the ministry of Devolution and Planning.
  • Noteworthy is that the Ministry of Education seems to have more work than other ministries from the tasks they are to implement. These tasks range from developing an online platform that will function as: an interaction tool between KA and learning institutions within; advice Kenyans on marketable courses abroad as well as public education programmes for students travelling abroad among other tasks.
  • The MoE is also tasked with encouraging KA to participate in the sports, games, music, drama festivals. The MSCA is also mandated to promote Kenyan talents abroad. The MSCA has for a long time been there for a longer time promoting talent to various parts of the world through partnership with Brand Kenya and Kenya Tourism Board, the introduction of encouraging KA to participate in the domestic festivals seems like an overlap of the functions of the three institutions. The MSCA should be tasked with anything regarding promotion of Sports, Culture and Arts outside the country at any level starting from primary schools to higher learning institutions. This will not only avoid replication of duties but also allow for smoother running of operations from a central ministry.
  • Within the education field, there is much focus on utilizing the existing knowledge base, there should also be proactive measures towards enhancing knowledge and creation of opportunities by the government for Kenyans to study abroad, a similar move was the “Airlift Program” which took bright Kenyans to study in the USA and return to work so as to build the country. The private sector led by the MasterCard Foundation is helping connect students to universities across the world; the government should lead, or further support such efforts financially so as to accommodate more people into the programs.
  • The MEAC, should also be tasked with the mandate of enlarging its scope to include medical tourism, from the Diaspora policy the MoH is handling medical tourism which can be better managed by the Tourism department due to the already existing human resource and infrastructure.
  • The Structure and Composition of the NADICOK has not been revealed yet, this paper proposes the membership to be comprised of the elected persons from the Association of Kenyan Communities Abroad (AKCA) who will represent the interests and priorities of their communities in the council. The council under the auspices of the MFA&IT should meet about four times, on a quarterly basis so as to give direction and advice the government accordingly.
  • There should also be a worldwide campaign led by the Kenyan Missions abroad supported by Brand Kenya on the slogan “Serve Kenya to Build Kenya”. The aim of this will be to build confidence in investment in Kenya and returning back home. Among the rationale of the policy includes the passionate nature of Kenyan about their Homeland, whether this is as a result of a scientific study or otherwise, facts should be stated as such a research to be conducted by the Kenyan Missions Abroad. This campaign should also promote the dual citizenship policy already adopted to encourage more people to be citizens.
  • There is an area that can be explored and tapped into, this is the intellectual abilities of Kenyans. There should be collaborations between academicians in the country and outside the state, this can easily be done through the framework of “The Kenyan Scientific Community” which will include scholars of Kenyan origin and citizenship from various fields. The main objective of this is so as to share ideas, encourage research collaborations, provide ideas for improving the country.
  • The digital platform as a means of communication should be further explored, the example set by Statehouse and the president on communication using the social media platform (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram etc.) should be extended to the Kenyan Missions Abroad as well as their Ambassadors, High Commissioners or Permanent Representatives, so as to encourage information sharing to be accessed by all Kenyans and stakeholders across the globe.

Reclaiming Paradise: The Global Environmental Movement



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Oriama, gives a critical and vivid account of John McCormick view on environmental movements based on historical and 21st century perspective, as well as a summary of a gradual phenomenon and challenges of organisations in their quest for environmental diplomacy.

John McCormick is a well versed with environmental issues and fronting the global environmental movement. In his book Reclaiming Paradise: The Global Environmental Movement he analyses keenly the roots, growth, environmental concepts and the history behind the environmental movements. The book is written with concepts and landmark events in the 20th century through to the 21st century. Chapter one of the book examines the roots of environmentalism or rather the history of environmental movements. These movements in the 19th and 20th century were not well organized and sophisticated

The first observation is the title Reclaiming Paradise and its link to the first chapter where he gives an exemplary introduction to the title by giving a history of where the movements began, what triggered the movements and the shortcomings and successes of the movements in advancing environmental conservation and preservation. McCormick acknowledges the fact that there is no clear beginning of the movement because there is no single event that sparked mass movements on environmental issues.

For McCormick, there are several stimuli and responses which exerted influence on the growth of environmental movements: mainly progress in scientific research, growth in personal mobility, intensification of industry, spread of human settlement and broad changes in social and economic relationships. In Victorian British, Charles Darwin’s work played a major role in exerting pressure on the formation and spread of environmental movements due to his theoretical concept that man was and is one with all other species hence distancing himself from nature is at his own peril.

“Wherever man appears with his tools, deformity follows his steps his spade and his plough, his hedge and his furrow, making shocking encroachments on the simplicity and elegance of landscape”.[1] In the 19th century, the emphasis though was in wilderness protection and preservation.

Chapter two evaluates protection, conservation and the role of United Nations (UN) in environmentalism in 1945-1961. The onset and end of the Second World War transformed values and attitudes towards internationalism, hence transforming and altering the agenda of environmentalism. He highlights two environmental initiatives predating the Second World War. Firstly, the convening of an international conference on conservation of natural resources and secondly, the establishment of an international organization for the protection of nature. Wrangles in the United States were visible with a disparity of values and attitudes with regards to environmentalism between conservatives of the environment and the preservatives. This brought about a clear cut ideological and theoretical difference between the preservationists whose main is to preserve the environment from all but recreational and educational use and the conservatives whose main tenets were to exploit the continent’s natural resources, but to do so rationally and sustain-ably.

He also engages us in the activities of the United Nations within the same period of time and the role of organizations and agencies in the UN system in environmentalism. Economic And Social Council (ECOSOC) and Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)’s intention to make conservation part of post war economic policy planning. He also highlights the efforts of two main activists. Pinchot’s efforts in America in conservation, John Muir in preservation in 1890 where he campaigned for Yosemite National Park which became the first preserve to protect wilderness. His giving the history of International Union for the Protection of Nature (IUPN) is also key to the history of environmental movements since it’s important to highlight that contrary to belief, IUPN was not a product of a popular movement but a creation of a few enthusiasts. Also important is the clarification with UN system and due to its holding International Technical  Conference on the Protection of Nature (ITC) separately, it distanced itself from the UN system.  IUPN hence became an activist kind of organization.

Chapter four of the book looks at the challenges that the growing movement faced in the wake of environmentalism. The main challenge was from philosophers and scholars who came out as critics to the movement on the basis of contradicting theories, philosophies and ideologies- The Prophets of Doom. The book highlights collisions in concept with the environmental movement as The Ehrlich-Commoner Debate which consisted of two biologists with differing opinions on the growth of the economy. It also highlights The Tragedy of the Commons– a doomsday essay written by Garret Hardin. Another important highlight is the Apocalypse Tomorrow Syndrome which he captures as the attitudes and values of the Europeans then on issues of the environment.

This chapter is of much importance today as it is the basis of understanding with regards to the current challenges of climate change and environmental security. “Multiple disasters serve to destroy the commonly held theories that have served sufficiently well in the past and the response to such stress is the rise of charismatic leaders who offer ideas and a philosophy that can be interpreted in a Salvationist manner”.[2]

The modern era of environmental diplomacy can be traced back to the 1972 U.N. Conference in the human environment held in Stockholm, Sweden. In this conference UNEP was established as an International entity for environmental action in the UN system.

In the late 1970’s, through both the broad dissemination of scientific findings and the vociferous complaint of the people of Sweden, Canada and other nations of the world first became aware of the acid rain concept. This concept would then becloud already battered International diplomatic relationships. Environmental diplomacy took the center stage when environmental problems took a security turn and hence arousing national security concerns.

The UN conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) also known as Earth Summit held in Rio DE Janeiro 1992 gave a new impetus to environmental diplomacy. New Multilateral Environmental Agreements were born, the United Nations Framework Convention in Climate Change (UNFCCC), and the Convention on Bio-diversity (CBD). A new political institution, the commission on sustainable development was also established.This he exemplary covers in chapter five hence giving rise to the debate in modern environmental diplomacy which is mainly carried out under the auspices of UNFCCC.

In addressing UNEP in chapter six, the writer basically delves into the achievements and challenges of UNEP with regards to the growing need of environmental movements. His first assessment is with regards to implementation and adoption of the Stockholm declaration and other treaties thereafter. This was quite commendable of him to have tackled this because of the current criticisms of UNEP’s under-performance by specific countries.

Chapter seven and eight looks at the disparities between the North and the South-The North-South debate with regards to environmental issues. While the developed north faces criticisms in pollution indexes due to industrialization, the South is paving its way up the ladder of development through industrialization. The book addresses these issues of disparities from a checks and balances point of view, where it is evident with his analysis that the environment is a question of the global commons which cannot be ignored on the basis of development and underdevelopment. It is therefore clear that the question of environmental issues requires individual responsibility and accountability for the sake of the next generations.

It is also clear that the environment being an issue majorly categorized as low politics makes it difficult to be accorded an audience within the context of international and individual state politics. The North-South debate is still evident in international environmental negotiations even today and it has turned out to cripple the processes that are meant for the common good of the whole world evident in all attempts towards attaining a global environmental regime.

In conclusion, “Environmentalists argue that we can no longer take the environment for granted. It is already too late to save many species and habitats, and more will undoubtedly suffer through ill-advised development. Pollution has been curbed or reduced in some parts of the world, but it is worsening in others. Forests and fertile land is being lost in some parts, and restored in others. Sooner or later, a workable balance must be achieved between the needs of humanity and the needs of nature. However long this takes, the rise of the environmental movements in the form of non-state actors has made sure that the relationship between humans and their environment will never be quite the same again”.[3]

 [1] G. William (1973), Observations on the Highlands of Scotland, Richmond surrey, Richmond, p.112.

[2] Michael Burkun (1974), Disaster and the Millennium, Yale University Press, New Haven, pp 74-89.

[3] J. McCormick (1992), The Global Environmental Movement: Reclaiming Paradise, CBS Publishers, India, p. 203

By: Oriama D. Ikaroot

For more info, please follow @DebbieAugust

Energy Security for Kenya: The Pros and Cons of the Nuclear Option


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Several African countries are on the journey towards establishing their first nuclear plant. Kenya is among these countries and has purposed that it is necessary to diversify the country’s energy mix in order to improve its electricity generation capacity. However, a lot of questions still linger in the public minds as to whether the country is ready for nuclear power generating plant.

The existing mindset out there has been constructed negatively as a result of the Nuclear disasters which have happened in the past and recently. People ask of what use is there to build a Nuclear Power Plant when the country has substantial sources to exploit energy i.e. Wind, Geothermal, Solar, Natural Gas etc.

The public needs to understand that with the renewables, their energy supply is intermittent and lacks the required baseload to provide electricity supply throughout. The population as it is isn’t going to be constant; this is because in the next five years or so Kenya’s population will be more than 50 million, the same applies to the rest of Africa. So, would there be enough supply to power the growing demand? Definitely there has to be other sources of energy to be exploited in order to meet the expected rise in demand.

Concerns about the Nuclear Power Plant Project

Although the government is going ahead with the Nuclear Power Plant establishment, serious doubts have been expressed within the public circles. Some reasons for doubts include lack of properly trained manpower, the overall cost of the project, suitability of the sites where nuclear plants are going to be built and nuclear disaster management.

Lack of Nuclear Engineers

At the outset there are hardly any nuclear engineers currently working for the Nuclear Power & Energy Agency, although the Agency has done quite a lot to ensure that the existing engineers working for the agency are exposed to further trainings abroad on Nuclear Power Generation and also mentored. The government through the Agency has rolled out annual training programmes targeting Kenyans for training in various fields so as to build adequate capacity for the country’s nuclear power programme. Mostly the trainings comprise of both short and long term programmes in partnership with local and international institutions. This year Two (2) Kenyans have been selected to undertake Masters Programme at the Tsinghua University in China for an International graduate programme in nuclear engineering management. The Agency has also since hosted experts from South Korea on the development of local nuclear science and engineering course at Kenyatta University. Without competent engineers it is very difficult to initiate a nuclear power programme and it is with this recognition that the Agency is expanding the capacity of Kenyans. It takes roughly about three to five years to train nuclear engineers.

With regard to sites of where the Nuclear Power Plant is going to be established. The Agency has already completed the criteria for site selection of Nuclear Power Plants in Kenya; field studies and ranking of candidates’ sites have also been completed.

Nuclear Safety

Concerns have been raised to the technical issues associated with storage, and transportation and the disposal of radioactive material and waste. This needs to come out clear as to where the waste is going to be stored. Is it in the country? Or will it be taken back by the country that will be tasked with the building of the nuclear plant. This is indeed a problem that up to date, there is still no country that has completed the entire fuel cycle or handled the issue of spent fuel management in practice.

Attention also needs to be expressed about the Safety of Nuclear reactors to be used. The common VVER-1000s reactors have been rejected globally by many countries owing to their failure to meet European Safety Standards. Thus, informing the public of the track record of chosen nuclear reactors will be of uttermost importance in order for their concerns on safety be addressed.

Justification of a Nuclear Power Plant.

At present nuclear energy produces close to 15% of the world’s electricity and 5.7% of the total primary energy used worldwide. Meanwhile the global energy supply and energy use per capita is increasing. The contribution of nuclear for electricity generation varies from region to region. In Western Europe, nuclear power that is generated accounts for almost 27% of total electricity. In Northern Europe, it’s about 18% and Africa 2.4%. At the moment there are approximately over 400 nuclear power reactors operating in almost 30 different countries worldwide. This demonstrates the rapid growth and success of the technology

However still, Western Countries are still trying to reduce their dependence on Nuclear energy and are instead focusing on Solar and Wind. The Fukushima Daichi nuclear accident renewed the debate about safety of nuclear energy especially among the public, whose thoughts of building a nuclear plant has been switched towards Negative perception. Nuclear energy technology continues to be highly contested technology not because it is a highly beneficial technology but because of the risks that have been associated with it.

However, for the purpose of public record Nuclear plants are the safest in that they emit no pollution compared to the burning of fossil fuels. During accidents nuclear plant can only release negligible amounts of radioactive matter. People can’t die from small radioactive matter that escapes from a nuclear plant. People did not die during the Fukushima accident. People have formed the perception that any small nuclear radiation related incident will lead to a situation like the Chernobyl accident. People are exposed to radiation daily in the form of cosmic rays, X-rays, CT scans, Mobile Phones and also during surgeries.

We cannot predict what will happen in the future and to a larger extent we have to leave it to destiny. Therefore, it shouldn’t always be perceived that if nuclear plants are built today, then there is going to be an accident of some sort. This is fearful anticipation and it varies from person to person.

And since Nuclear Projects are established pursuant to a declared national policy, public engagement and providing information will help the public in dealing with the fear of nuclear power generation. The Nuclear Power Energy Agency is already in the process of sensitizing the public on Nuclear Power Generation in the various counties in Kenya.

Nuclear Power Generation will help a lot with reducing the climate change effects. The burning of more of fossil fuels is likely to contribute to an increase of carbon emissions, of which is what currently contributes to climate change globally. With the threats of climate change in mind, many governments and environmentalists have begun to reconsider nuclear power as potentially cleaner compared to fossil fuels.

Kenyan households and businesses will need competitively-priced, reliable, safe and sustainable energy to deliver on its Big Four Agenda priorities: affordable housing, manufacturing, food security, and universal healthcare. Hence the government proposing to pursue nuclear as an option based on the principle of peaceful utilization of atomic energy.

Albert Mbaka

Research Associate

Energy Security Program

Centre for International & Security Affairs (CISA)            

How Kenya and African Countries can Avoid Chinese Debt Diplomacy


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The realization that Kenya has fallen into China’s Debt Diplomacy is unfortunate. The idea that such profound contracts and investments would be made without a robust public engagement or indirect public participation brings into question the role of state institutions in oversight of government operations. In light of this, the recent revelations of the gaps in the China-Kenya Standard Gauge Railway Contract from the Daily Nation’s Publication, go further to suggest that the agreement goes beyond economic interests of Kenya and perhaps there could have been political interests at play noting the timing and context of the agreement. This cannot be ignored as Kenya’s Legal and International Trade aficionados disparage the terms and conditions of the contract.

There are good examples such as the U.S. Congress’ role to hold President Trump’s Agenda to build a wall as part of enhancing border security between Mexico and the U.S.A. That the government would end in a shut down demonstrates the power and independence of Congress and Opposition in the democratic ecosystem of the country. Contrary to that, the diminishing independence of the Parliament of Kenya has come to haunt the image and prestige of the country as well as the day to day living of Wanjiku, having to pay more in taxes to meet the negative balance of trade and debt brought by the China-Kenya Agreement.

What then could be the immediate, medium term and long term stop-gap measures out of the impending predicament?

As for the immediate period, an intense focus could go into the re-negotiation of the agreements and lobbying using political leverage of Kenya and at large African Countries (maybe as a political block being the African Union) if not, then cognizant of the current political realities. For Kenya, the Handshake of March 2018 has eased political pressures the Jubilee Administration would have had in 2013 when they assumed office; to imply that more sober decisions can be tested at the Executive level, a balanced position strengthened by the new talents and brains brought on board through the Building Bridges Initiative. Furthermore, the role of the Office of the African Union Special Representative for Infrastructure, as held by R.H. Raila Odinga and his good offices could come in handy to exercise political creativity on the China-Kenya Infrastructure Agreement in favor of Kenya and African Countries. The political influence of the office though still young has the potential to shake up China-Africa relations, noting infrastructure development.

As for the medium-term plan, Parliament departmental committees should be re-aligned to better oversight the Economic Foreign Policy Agenda for the country. In the Article “Why Parliament Departmental Committees should be aligned to Kenya’s Economic Foreign Policy” published by the Daily Nation, 12th April 2018, I opined and maintain that:

“The effectiveness of the committee on Defense and Foreign Relations can be strengthened by realignment to meet the current needs of the Foreign Policy being, Economic. The function of Defense could easily be merged with the current Administration and National Security Committee to form the departmental committee on Administration and National Security Strategy.  The function of Trade in the departmental committee on Finance, Planning and Trade Committee could be transferred to the Foreign Relations committee for complete harmonization of principals, focus and leadership. This will create the departmental committee of Foreign Affairs and International Trade. Other additional considerations to be made would include the introduction of the submission of the Annual Foreign Policy Statement to be discussed in parliament to expand understanding among the back benchers and the public on the importance of the Foreign Policy Agenda of the government. Going even deeper parliament could enact legislation to have public participation in the Foreign Policy making process observing the spirit of the new constitution.”

As for the Long-term measure, there is a need to groom International Trade negotiators and cognoscente in the young generation and junior government technocrats, across the continent, to avoid a recurrence or even worse forms of international treaties that could put the sovereignty of the country at stake, risking the livelihoods of the man on the streets and at worst mortgage the country. It might seem that the gaps in the contract could lead the country into a National Security Issue if the sovereignty of Kenya, her properties, freedoms, prosperity are under a threat; as such, perhaps it is not too far to imagine the securitization of government operations. If this is the case, in whose shoulders would the blame be on? In line with this, the state should actualize Kenya’s Grand Strategy as a guiding principal and reflection point of where the country is at vis a vis where it is headed.

Furthermore, this should serve as a clarion call for the Kenyan and African Public at large to augment their interest in the International Political scene so as to observe trends from other continents, note the mistakes made by other countries and to be able to protect against future threats and similar situations. Lastly, serious think tanks from Africa should delve into finding solutions and assist governments willing to accept help, in navigating unpredictability of the International Political Environment.

Joel Okwemba

Managing Director

Centre for International and Security Affairs- Think Tank Based in Nairobi  





Why Global Citizenship Education is important for Kenya’s Prosperity   


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“Education is a human right, a public good and a public responsibility”-UNESCO

Education is a process of enlightenment. Some arguments in the social sciences suggest that the human mind is a “tabula rasa” –a blank slate at conception while others refute this claim, suggesting that there is innate knowledge of an inherent truth which the human person is born with. Out of contending schools of thought about the methods of acquiring knowledge emerged the need to create methods of instruction, such formal education, apprenticeship, story-telling and so forth, aimed at creating social structures to govern human and institutional relationships. The process of learning creates education, which is institutionalized according to the context in which it is offered. Montesquieu, a French philosopher of the 17th Century belabored the important role of education in the society, and asks a pertinent question in one of his writings; “Who doubts that education is very useful?”

Education is of utmost importance for human growth and development, and yet, with progress in human civilization, education increasingly became a privilege for the wealthy and the holders of stature in society. Worse still, there has been adoption of an education aimed at suppressing the rights, freedoms and will of others, such as Hitler’s Nazi ideology of intolerance and hate towards minority groups in Germany during his reign. Education, whether formal or informal may serve as a tool of destruction and stagnation, or a tool of growth and development in individuals and countries. For this reason, the global community recognized the right to education as a fundamental human right, which was enshrined in Article 26 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948, stating that;

“Everyone has the right to education. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages. Elementary education shall be compulsory. Technical and professional education shall be made generally available and higher education shall be equally accessible to all on the basis of merit. Education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. It shall promote understanding, tolerance and friendship among all nations, racial or religious groups, and shall further the activities of the United Nations for the maintenance of peace. Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children.”

To this end, countries have been obligated by international laws and institutions to provide inclusive, quality and accessible education to all their citizens. This aspiration has been mirrored in global agenda for eradication of extreme poverty, with education being the 2nd priority of the Millennium Development Goals of 2000-2015, and 4th on the revised Sustainable Development Goals of 2015-2030. It was observed that education was the key to achievement of these global aspirations. This has however not been the case, particularly in developing countries in Africa, Latin America and other regions. In the 2017/2018 Global Education Monitoring Report, it was established that in sub-Saharan Africa, 87% of pupils did not reach the minimal proficiency level in reading.

In Kenya, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) estimates that the adult literacy rate is at 78%, with a transition rate of primary to secondary school for girls at 100% and 98% for boys as of 2015. A high literacy level in Kenya has however not translated to productive capacities, with an increasing youth unemployment rate of 22% in 2007 to 26% in 2017. This indicates an asymmetrical relationship between level of education and employability capacities, indicating that the problem may lie in the relevance of the content in educational institutions, and the job market need. It also shows that the quality of education being offered is not progressive enough to spur innovativeness towards harnessing opportunities presented by the 21st Century, as well as adapt to its challenges.

For this reason, there is need for governments to foster public-private-partnerships to fill the gaps left by governmental limitations in managing the quality of education in our education institutions. One such initiative it the Know Your World Initiative, an initiative of the Center for International and Security Affairs, a research and think tank organization in Nairobi, which offers co-curricular programs, using education, public diplomacy and cultural diplomacy; to offer international relations programs to high schools, aimed at creating a critical mass of global citizens in our young population, better equipped to adjust to 21st Century dynamics. As the world marks the International Day of Education on the 24th of January in Dalian, China, it must put emphasis on the capacity of education to spur not only intellectual growth, but also innovative capacities, curiosity, critical thinking, tolerance and oneness of purpose of the human race.


Monica Ng’ang’a

Program Coordinator

Know Your World Initiative- a program under the auspices of the Centre for International and Security Affairs.


What Kenya has learnt from the Riverside Attack


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Terrorist attacks in Kenya are not a new phenomenon. Kenya’s response to the Riverside attack shows increased public resilience and assurance that the government is now better equipped to deal with attacks having learned from past incidences. Emergency services providers and law enforcement officers from a wide array of various agencies got to the scene in perfect timing. The government’s clarification on what phone numbers should be used by distressed friends and families eased communication challenges. There was well thought out media coverage that ensured the right to privacy of victims and prevented the leaking of vital information that law enforcement will use to understand who was behind the attack and what the motive was among others.

Use of Social Media

Social media has become an integral part of our lives. Following the Riverside attack, there were messages on social media showing victims of the attack getting rescued, “rumors” on a robbery incident at the premise among other things. Kenyans exercised a lot of caution with the use of social media. It was to spread messages of peace, give condolences for the victims, share emergency phone numbers for use by families seeking information on their loved ones and provide help for people still trapped in the attack scene. There was a deliberate attempt from the public to protect the dignity of survivors and casualties.

Role of the media

Terrorism is communication through violence to spread fear for a political outcome. Without publicity, terrorists organizations would die as they would not have a platform to spread fear in the hope of making legitimate governments act or fail to act, sympathizers who join their ranks or turn the other way, financiers who pay their “soldiers” or finance terrorist organizations daily operations and attacks among others. “Terrorists want a lot of people watching, not dead,” Brian Jenkins.  Consequently, the media must be careful when reporting about terrorist attacks as this can be in the terrorists’ favor if not well thought out. Some of the things that Kenyan media houses did well was inform Kenyans what numbers to call for help, called for blood donations, advised Kenyans not to “forward as received” messages that have not been verified.

Kenyan Spirit

Kenyans are a kind hearted and come through for each other whenever there is a challenge. There were numerous private citizens who volunteered to take part in rescue efforts, donate blood and marshal supplies such as water and tea for security officers and victims. This is very commendable as it shows the terrorists that Kenya remains united despite attempts to divide us along religious lines.

Verify before you post content on social media

During an attack, everyone is eager to know what is happening on the ground- trapped victims, friends and families of people who frequent the attack scene and the general public. Social media fills the void as individuals with smart phones can share photos, videos and information live from the incident scene without having to depend on traditional media such as radio and television. Everyone needs to verify information sharing it as misinformation can endanger the lives of people caught in the crossfire, mislead emergency services providers and create additional tension.

Government communication and response

The government communicated very effectively by holding numerous press conferences to update Kenyans. Centralized communication channels such as phone numbers and verified social media accounts ensured that Kenyans were informed. Security officials once again put their lives on the line for our security and were able to evacuate more than 700 people. Had they not been effective, the death toll would have been higher.


Terrorists organizations always cite a higher death toll as this is bound to spread fear amongst the population while governments often cite lower figures to assure the public that they are dealing with the attack effectively. Whilst investigations are ongoing, it is best to steer away from sharing the number of casualties, hostages, and even attackers until there is a credible figure given by law enforcement.

Moving forward

Kenya remains strong despite the Riverside attack. It is paramount that there is increased training to the public and media on how to stay safe during an armed attack and how to report it without spreading more fear or leaking vital intelligence. Secondly, there’s need for investment in smart technologies like smart CCTV devices that flag potential attackers following suspicious behavior. Thirdly, there should be increased efforts to foster law enforcement and community cooperation from religious institutions, civil society and research bodies to thwart terrorist attacks where people who see something, say something. Finally, the faster we resume normalcy- stop live streaming of the attack, reopen businesses around the attack scene and go back to our usual schedules. While physical scars heal, the psychological ones might take longer but we will heal.

Tabitha Mwangi

Research Associate- Terrorism

Center for International Security Affairs  


Lessons from Conventional Warfare Kenya can learn for the War on Terror


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War is a continuation of politics by other means. This sentiment was made by General Carl von Clausewitz in the period after the Napoleonic Wars of 18th Century Europe. The subject of war has occupied the minds of great thinkers early as 5th Century BCE, with the accounts of Thucydides on the Peloponnesian War of 431-404 BCE.Before the modern state system as we know it today, territories, groups, kingdoms and other political units acquired wealth and expansion of territory through war. This was the state of nature as described by Thomas Hobbes that guided progress towards civilization before the state was created. It is out of this chaotic history, that a country like our very own Kenya is a recognized state in the international system. “We” African states and other colonial entities were however not directly involved in the process of state-making. This decision was made for us by those who actually were at war.

War is an important component of statecraft. Charles Tilly, a scholar in the subject of statecraft observed that“War made states, and states made war.”Tilly’s observations were that; it is out of a warring process that civilized political units emerged, particularly in Europe. These advanced political units emerged out of the need for conscription of soldiers into the “armies”, tax bureaus then emerged to collect money from the governed citizens so as to replenish the “armies”, and administrative imperatives emerged, to govern the affairs of the “militaries”. All these factors, combined with the civilianization of individuals shifted the monopoly of the use of violence to an autonomous unit, which provided protection for the residents within its territorial boundaries.

Because the decision to be a state was made for colonial entities, including permanent boundaries inviolable by international law standards, African countries, majority of which gained independence in the last five decades, have missed out on an important faction of statecraft, war. Out of war, nations have been forced to innovate new technologies to defend their peoples and territories. Out of war, governments have learnt the art of making long term strategy for their countries and their people. They have developed advanced technologies to protect their sovereignties. They have become industrially advanced. These are the nations that have become great and important powers in the international arena. The Germanys’, France, Belgium, China, Japan and “Russias” of this world. War necessitated organized bureaucracies, created a sense of oneness among people, a sense of purpose and identity.

Although the nature of war is no longer a conventional affair between two or more regular armies, traditional principles of war such as unity of command, objective, offensive, surprise and simplicity are as effective today in fighting unconventional warfare. Unity of command for example, ensures a quick responsiveness to the instruments of war, particularly weapons and personnel at the disposal of the officer in command. Unity of command also demands a unifying and focusing of efforts by the different security apparatus in attaining their objective, while at the same time controlling and coordinating the efforts of non-military, non-security agencies, such as the rescue and save efforts. This is a fundamental principle of war, which has often been lacking in the way that Kenya security forces dealt with past attacks on the country, such as the Westgate terror attacks of September 2013. However, although the Westgate attack exposed the inexperience of Kenyan security forces in the art of direct combat, it provided an opportunity to learn and innovate better methods of countering similar threats.

Today’s war on terror is an unconventional war and the principles that guide new forms of war have also changed. In the Military Review journal of 2006, new principles of war are suggested as being; perceived worthiness of the war, informed insight, strategic anchoring, durability, unity of effect, adaptability, engagement dominance and culminating power. For countries like Kenya that have not had experience in battle combat, it has proven challenging to deal decisively with threats to the country. However, the cycles of attacks, including the Garissa University terror acts of April 2015 have been our battleground, and with it opportunities for our security apparatus to experience the art and science of war. The lessons have been apparent in the response to the January 15, 2019 14 Riverside terrorist attacks, with time taken to manage the crisis decreasing from the West Gate’s four days to sixteen hours, marked improvement in time to respond to the crisis, and indeed, a lower, but still unfortunate number of casualties.

The war on terror is becoming the battle of the 21st Century, and with it, opportunities to spur growth in strategic planning, coordination and execution of the national security agenda of countries like Kenya, that have become targets of internal and external acts of terror.


Monica Ng’ang’a

Executive Director

Centre for International and Security Affairs