Military diplomacy: a case study of Kenya Defence Forces in Somalia (2011-2012)
KDF’s entry into Somalia on October 2011 elicited a lot of interest at the local, sub-regional, regional and international levels. This was because in the history of independent Kenya, a 48 year period, the country had not gone to war. In fact the country was usually referred to as an island of peace in an otherwise unstable sub-region. Except for KDF’s engagements in the Shifta Campaign between 1963 and 1967, and also its involvement in United Nations Peace Keeping Operations within the region and in other parts of the world, KDF had not engaged in war per se. The study therefore seeks to establish whether KDF’s entry into Somalia was a reflection of military diplomacy and if there is a relationship between military diplomacy and national interests. The study will rely on both primary and secondary sources of data. The study will therefore rely on Key Informant Interviews and Focus Group Discussions to gather information from a selected number of Key personnel in the Ministries of State for Defence and Foreign Affairs. The study’s hypotheses are based on seeking to establish whether military diplomacy enhances or does not enhance national interests. The hypotheses are therefore meant to establish if military diplomacy has any impact on national interests. The study brings to the fore the finding that military diplomacy enhances a country’s national interests. The study indicates that KDF’s deployment to Somalia was in response to the threat to Kenya’s national interests and its very survival. The study concludes that a regional and multilateral practice of military diplomacy is a plausible approach to the mitigation of security threats to a country’s national interests.