The Effects of Oil Discovery on Kenyan National Security

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Generally, this study is about the effects of oil discovery on Kenyan National Security. The discovery of oil in Kenya came as a much anticipated relief to a country that was heavily burdened by high oil prices in the international market. There is great optimism among the Kenyan people that oil discovery will transform Kenya into a modern and prosperous State. However, there has been little thought on the likely security implications of oil discovery on the nation. This research work therefore filled this gap by carrying out a research on the effects of oil discovery on Kenyan national security. The study carried out a review of the oil sector and oil exploration efforts in Kenya, discussed the opportunities and challenges of oil discovery in Kenya and likely effects of oil discovery on Kenyan national security. To do this, the study set out two hypotheses namely that Oil discovery is likely to present the country with exciting opportunities as well as challenges and secondly there will be correlation between the discovery of oil in Kenya and the country’s national security.Study questionnaires were used to collect primary data from government officials, security personnel and the local population. In addition, interviews and focus group discussions were conducted to identify pertinent security issues. A total of 100 questionnaires were administered to the three categories with a response rate of 64%.  The collected data was analysed using Microsoft excel and presented with the aid of tables and charts. The study was anchored on the resource curse theory where states endowed with abundant resources retrogress economically due to overdependence on one given resource and thus failing to diversify and develop other sectors of the economy.

The study found out that likely security effects fall into two categories which are internal effects and external effects. External effects being a shift in regionalmilitary power, change in Kenyan relationship with International Community,likely escalation of border conflicts with South Sudan and Somali and finally likely increase in terrorist attacks, insurgency and sabotage activities. On the other hand, the study found internal security effects on national security as likely increase in internal resources conflicts, emergence of insurgency groups, influx of refugees and likely increase in Internal Displaced Persons (IDPs,)likelihood of increased criminal activities and feared increase in government expenditure on security.The study concluded that there is need for the country to take early remedial measures in order to prevent these effects before full exploitation and production of oil can commerce.

Lastly the study has given recommendations that will enable the country to successfully exploit the newly found oil resources in a secure and stable environment. These include the establishment of institutions and normative frameworks including a fully-fledged oil ministry with a substantive cabinet secretary to provide missing strategic leadership, boast security presence by having permanent police and military installations in and around the oil producing regions, building capacity at all levels to serve in the oil sector as well as training of Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) and National Police Service (NPS) personnel in the protection of oil installations and facilities both at land and in the sea. Another recommendation is to mobilize, educate and involve the local communities to support the oil industry and also instill patriotism and lastly establish an inclusive and permanent conflict management and environmental committee which will have frequent meetings to address security and environmental matters that may arise without giving much room for issues to accumulate and explode.


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