ROLE OF REGIONAL POWERS IN CONFLICT MANAGEMENT: A CASE OF AFRICAN STANDBY FORCE

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Conflicts in Africa have cumulatively claimed millions of lives, while many others have been made refugees and internally displaced. The overall objective of the study was to examine the role of regional powers in conflict management with reference to the East African Standby Force. The African Standby Force was established by the African Union to be the backbone of Africa’s new peace and security architecture. However, considerable difficulties remain. This study applies the hegemonic stability theory, which states that the presence of a hegemonic power in the international/regional system creates incentives for other states to conform to the order created by the hegemon, thus the region becomes more peaceful, stable and secure. A hegemon (regional power) is defined as a state that has the capacity and will to lead and influence other states in the international/regional system. The presence of two or more regional power in a region undermines peace, stability and security as the potential regional power play negative power games. In the East African region, Kenya has emerged as a potential regional power. Literature on the link between the role of regional powers and conflict management is scarce and hence this study deepened intellectual understanding of this linkage. This study used both primary and secondary data. The main finding of this study is that full operationalization and effectiveness of the ASF requires a greater involvement of a regional power.  Kenya should therefore enhance its regional power status and steer the EASF to its logical operationalization. This academic work will help to develop policies that will enhance Kenya’s emerging position and ultimately enhance conflict management by operationalizing the EASF.

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PROF. AMB. MARIA NZOMO
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