Identity and security in borderlands of northern kenya: the case of garissa county, 1991-2009.
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This study focused on identity and security in Garissa district during the period 1991- 2009. Its objective was to examine the extend to which ethnic based identity affects the security situation in Garissa. Two main reasons informed revisiting the state of security in Garissa from an identity perspective. Foremost among these reasons is the fact that insecurity in the district remains rife, despite interventions by state and non-state actors aimed at improving the social, political and economic fortunes of the residents. Such interventions have been in form of deployment of security forces, efforts to improve access to opportunities for the residents to participate in economic, political and governance affairs, locally and nationally, establishment of multi-faceted conflict mitigation mechanisms amongst other. The second reason is that insecurity in the district has become a highly complex 'web' of factors, events and actors. These factors included the district's past history of irredentism, the persistent perception possessed by residents of marginalized by the pre-and post-independence Kenyan state, the impact of failed neighboring state of Somalia, the identity the Somali people, and the Kenyan state capability to govern effectively its entire territory. The study drew largely on the concept of nationalism to appreciate the identity factor the prevailing security situation. The concept of nationalism embodies the philosophy and therefore the attitude of members of a nation, as citizens of that nation, and the duty and actions required of them in seeking to achieve or sustain sovereignty. Nationalism also embodies the idea of the state, and its obligation to govern effectively, the entire territory. This is the context under which, the effect of identity on security in Garissa, which is located on the Kenya-Somali border, is studied. Aware of their ethnic identity as Somali on one hand and as nationals or citizens of Kenyan state on the other, the residents of Garissa had to contend with the reality of an international boundary, which placed a part the community in Kenya and the other part in Somalia. The study also to a lesser extent drew from the notion of geopolitics, to complement the assessment of the effectiveness of the state vis-a-vis other geopolitical agents in the area, especially its foremost duty as a protector. The study argued that the ethnic identity of the residents of Garissa and its proximity to the border with Somalia created a 'distinct people' who exist on the periphery of state influence. As the areas pursue their own interests, which are not necessary consistent with those of the state, their ethnic identity is constantly being exploited by many other 'agents' competing with the state. The study noted that the residents of the district share the same tribe of Somali and Islamic faith, and Ogaden sub-clan of the larger Darood clan, all of which are also the dominant characteristics of residents in neighboring Republic of Somalia. It is argued in the study that ethnicity is the most prominent factor in the Somali identity. Its fluidic nature explains the paradox of 'oneness' displayed by the residents when engaging with the state the prevailing insecurity resulting from recurrent inter-clan violence that define the district. The study involved review of secondary source materials from public libraries in Nairobi and Garissa. Further secondary was obtained from the national archive on a limited scale. The District information and' Documentation Centre in Garissa, had