Terror, Trump and normalised absurdities challenging security in the region.
Kenya faces a number of serious security challenges.
Some, like the conflicts over land driven by unresolved historical injustices and more recent dubious land acquisitions by the political elite, have been long in the making and date back to the early days of our colonial experience. Others like the threat posed by the Al Shabaab terror group, were bubbling under the surface for a lesser period and have burst out into the open fairly recently. The winds of change that have swept through the capitals of our traditional security partners in the West today pose challenges that will affect our region for decades to come.
How we react and respond to these issues will determine whether we can realise the dream of both personal and collective security. The state will be central to this endeavour but is also, paradoxically, a threat to the populace it governs – many more Kenyans are killed by the police than are murdered by Al Shabaab.
Can we reconcile this apparent contradiction between national and personal security? How do we harness our collective resources to counter both domestic and external sources of insecurity without undermining the individual freedoms guaranteed under our Constitution? What lessons can we take from history and from experiences in other parts of the world?
In this edition, The Elephant examines the issues driving the conflict over land and environmental resources in Laikipia County and compares them to the situation in the Scottish Highlands. We also look at the myths surrounding the war on terror in the region, the effect the fateful decision to send troops to Somalia has had on Kenya, the challenges posed to the country and the region by the election of Donald Trump in the US, the issues surrounding extrajudicial killings perpetrated by the Kenyan state and the progress made in the effort to reform the National Police Service.
BLOW: How the war on drugs has been a systematic failure of policy and political imagination.
There is a growing consensus that the current prohibitionist approach to drugs has not produced the intended outcomes. In terms of value, the global trade in illicit drugs is only surpassed by oil and arms and generates billions for some of the most unsavoury and violent people on the planet.
Despite all the resources that have been expended in trying to eradicate them, drugs have become cheaper, more available and more people are using them than ever before. At the same time, the war on drugs has wreaked untold misery on countries and populations across the planet.
Clearly, something needs to change. We need to move away from the hysteria, racism and cynical politics that have characterized the current one-size-fits-all approach and towards better informed, evidence-based policies.
In this edition, The Elephant takes a look at the inner workings of the heroin trade in Kenya and examines the country’s growing importance as a transit hub for narcotics. We challenge the notion that the region is on the brink of a major drugs epidemic and also reveal the history of regulation of licit drugs like alcohol and khat (miraa) in Kenya. Finally, we discuss why the war on drugs has failed and look at the alternatives to prohibition being tried out in countries around the world.
Wizi na Uporaji (Corruption)
THE UNWINNABLE WAR: How the myth of ‘institutions’ has hobbled the fight against graft and wasted precious time and money. Read edition