chapter  8
Kenya and International Security: Enabling Globalisation, Stabilising ‘Stateness’, and Deploying Enforcement
ByJan Bachmann
Pages 20

ABSTRACT On the international stage Kenya promotes itself as a regional peacemaker. The

country is an important contributor to UN missions, has had an important role in mediating

regional conflicts, and is a driving force in the implementation of Africa’s peace and security

architecture. However, there is another picture of Kenya’s engagement in regional conflicts

which, at first glance, seems to contradict international perception of the country. By

discussing Kenya’s historical and current practices in regional security, this article analyses

how the Kenyan government balances what seem to be multiple security agendas, ranging

from following a responsibility to protect, to pursuing economic self-interest, to executing

international counterterrorism agendas. Rather than being a shift in the country’s foreign

policy, it will be argued that Kenya’s involvement in rights and norm-violating practices-

more specifically in arms deliveries to Southern Sudan and the illegal military training of

youths in defence of the Somali transitional government, as well as repressive

‘counterterrorism’ practices against its own population-illustrates how the conditions of

globalisation not only limit but also enable new opportunities for the positioning of

postcolonial states in the international arena. It confirms patterns in Kenya’s political history

in which the politics of attracting, sustaining, and diversifying international partners and

external revenue is part of the regime’s continuing efforts at consolidating ‘stateness’.

Actively engaging with international norms to make them comply with one’s own perceptions

of security demonstrates how actors in the South shape the terms of reference in regional

security.