Dilemmas of Securitization in a Pandemic Crisis: An Assessment of Kenya’s Response to Covid-19 Pandemic

Abstract:

In the recent past the definition of national security has moved past traditional and state-centric concepts which have made it necessary to re-examine the state and accommodate both national and human security. Military strength alone is increasingly becoming less relevant due to the evolving nature of threats to the state. Thus, the importance of securitization in contemporary security studies is to expand the security agenda to include all threats that threaten the wellbeing of the nation as a whole. In March 2020 following the confirmation of the first coronavirus case in Kenya, the government declared the COVID-19 pandemic a serious threat to national security. This was the first occasion in Kenya a disease was viewed as having security implications capable of devastating the country’s national interests. The president constituted a National Emergency Response Committee on coronavirus to work alongside the National Security Council as the main agency for drafting policy solutions to respond to the pandemic. Through these actions, COVID-19 was transferred from the realm of normal public health politics to the national security agenda thus receiving great attention from the media and other international actors. The government took a hard decision and performed a securitizing move by constructing the COVID-19 pandemic as a threat to national security. This was justified by the fact that the implications of the COVID-19 pandemic were no longer the concern of individuals alone but globally threatened social, economic, and political progress that had been attained by human civilization. The goal of this study was to understand the application of securitization theory to Kenya’s response to the pandemic. The specific objectives aimed at highlighting the discourse of securitization among political actors and evaluating the appropriateness COVID-19 emergency policy responses and the effectiveness of their implementation. The research was qualitative in nature and relied on descriptive research technique, which allows for diverse data collection and data analysis methods. Data was obtained through document and newspaper review, speech review in addition to in-depth interviews with key informants in health industry, security experts, and officers from National Police Service, National Crime Research Centre and the Independent Policing Oversight Authority. Data was analyzed through discourse analysis and deductive thematic analysis for primary and secondary data. The research findings revealed that the decision to securitize the pandemic was characterized by a choice between two rights and policy actors preferred to err on the side of caution. Securitization presents policy makers with the opportunity to deal with an issue expeditiously and is a powerful tool of resource mobilization towards responding to an issue. However, there is need to consider the unintended consequences of security policy implementation in order to mitigate situations that may result in adverse effects that put the population in more danger than the security threat. Also there is need to have an adequate multisectoral pandemic preparedness plan for future crises to ensure that even where the government adopts costly security policies there are clear mechanics for support across all sectors of government.
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APA

Nyaanga, O (2024). Dilemmas of Securitization in a Pandemic Crisis: An Assessment of Kenya’s Response to Covid-19 Pandemic. Afribary. Retrieved from https://afribary.com/works/dilemmas-of-securitization-in-a-pandemic-crisis-an-assessment-of-kenya-s-response-to-covid-19-pandemic

MLA 8th

Nyaanga, Okerosi "Dilemmas of Securitization in a Pandemic Crisis: An Assessment of Kenya’s Response to Covid-19 Pandemic" Afribary. Afribary, 04 May. 2024, https://afribary.com/works/dilemmas-of-securitization-in-a-pandemic-crisis-an-assessment-of-kenya-s-response-to-covid-19-pandemic. Accessed 26 May. 2024.

MLA7

Nyaanga, Okerosi . "Dilemmas of Securitization in a Pandemic Crisis: An Assessment of Kenya’s Response to Covid-19 Pandemic". Afribary, Afribary, 04 May. 2024. Web. 26 May. 2024. < https://afribary.com/works/dilemmas-of-securitization-in-a-pandemic-crisis-an-assessment-of-kenya-s-response-to-covid-19-pandemic >.

Chicago

Nyaanga, Okerosi . "Dilemmas of Securitization in a Pandemic Crisis: An Assessment of Kenya’s Response to Covid-19 Pandemic" Afribary (2024). Accessed May 26, 2024. https://afribary.com/works/dilemmas-of-securitization-in-a-pandemic-crisis-an-assessment-of-kenya-s-response-to-covid-19-pandemic