Special envoys in Kenya's diplomacy of conflict management
Mohamed, A Affey
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Kenya has pursued a foreign policy and diplomacy of conflict management especially beginning in 1980s. It has actively mediated conflicts within and outside the Hom of Africa sub-region. The involvement in mediation of conflicts was motivated by the need to secure Kenya's national interests which are threatened by continued conflicts as well as the desire of the then president Moi to carve a niche as a peacemaker. The interests are economic, political, diplomatic and security in nature. In the pursuit of the foreign policy and diplomacy of conflict management, Kenya has utilized the institution of the special envoy. This institution has been categorised into three generations. The first generation is represented by Ambassador Mboya who was appointed in 1998 to mediate the Sudan's conflict. The second generation is represented by General Sumbeiywo and Mwangale who were mandated to mediate the Sudan and Somalia conflict respectively. The third generation of the special envoy is represented by Ambassador Kiplagat who succeeded Mwangale as the mediator during the Somalia peace process. The study has examined the institution of the special in Kenya. In the examination it has brought out the development of Kenya's' foreign policy and diplomacy of conflict management, the role the institution of the special envoy has played in securing Kenya's interests through mediation, challenges faced and proposed solutions. The examination has been informed by the two premises. One, mediation by states should be viewed from foreign policy perspective since states engage in mediation in order to secure some foreign policy goals. Two, in the analysis of the performance and challenges faced by the institution of special envoys in mediation of conflicts, attention should focus on the institution itself and the interests special envoys are supposed to secure. Data for study has been collected using content analysis/documentary research and interview methods, Though the documentary research, the study focused on scholarly and media information covering the fields of diplomacy, foreign policy, special envoys, and mediation. The data gathered was augmented by primary data gathered though interview which targeted the special envoys who have been appointed. Data generated was qualitatively analysed and used to test the study'S hypotheses and conclusions made. The study has established that, the institution of special envoy has had mixed outcomes in securing of Kenya's interests. This has been because of lack of a clearly articulated foreign policy and policy on its implementation, access to the appointing authority, organization and strategic management of the diplomacy of conflict management and the personality of the special envoys. Also, there has been lack of continuity with the fortunes of this institution rising and falling depending on who is occupying the presidency. On the strengths of the findings, the study concludes that there is a need to address these in order to strengthen and further institutionalize the use of special envoys in the mediation of conflicts. This should be done in concert with the reinvigoration of Kenya's foreign policy and diplomacy of conflict management which has declined especially under the presidency of Kibaki.