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An Analysis of Kenyan Foreign Policy

  • John Howell


In foreign affairs, Kenya presents various faces to the international community. In global terms external policy has been markedly radical in nature and characterised by a strong sense of morality and idealism. Rarely does a major Kenyan foreign policy statement fail to contain some allusion to the inequalities of the present international order or some reassertion of both the desirability and the attainability of a peaceful and just international community of nations. In East African affairs, however, Kenya's policy has often been governed by rather more conservative and legitimist thinking, notably where any radical departure from the status quo is contemplated. It would appear that where foreign policy issues touch directly on primary Kenyan interests—say, national security, national development—the overt radicalism of Kenya's broad international policy is subject to considerable restraint. This ambivalence in Kenya's foreign relations can probably be best explained by examining separately the basically domestic pressures towards a broadly radical policy internationally and towards a more cautious conservatism within East Africa. One further aspect of Kenya's foreign relations is in the field of inter-African affairs, where tentatively one may suggest that Kenya has come to play the role of a prestigious neutral between two amorphous, but often distinct, groupings of what have been termed ‘radical’ and ‘moderate’ states.1 Here, foreign policy is far less a product of domestic pressures, and contingencies of history and factors of personality reassert their importance in foreign policy analysis.



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Page 29 note 1 Terms used, for example, by McKeon, Nora, ‘The African States and the O.A.U.’, in International Affairs (London), XLII, 07 1966.

Page 30 note 1 Good, R. C., ‘New State-building as a Determinant of Foreign Policy’, in Martin, L. W. (ed.), Neutralism and Non-Alignment (New York, 1962), p. 12.

Page 31 note 1 Quoted in Pan Africa (Nairobi), 5 03 1965.

Page 31 note 2 East African Standard (Nairobi), 21 07 1966.

Page 32 note 1 East African Standard, 15 April 1966.

Page 33 note 1 Ibid. 29 April 1966.

Page 33 note 2 The Reporter (Nairobi), 22 04 1966.

Page 34 note 1 The term ‘ideology’ is used here very widely to connote a set of prescriptive beliefs about international order.

Page 34 note 2 Mantano, R. S., in East African Standard, 11 12 1965.

Page 34 note 3 Mazrui, Ali, ‘African Attitudes and the U.N.’, in East Africa Journal (Nairobi), 10 1964.

Page 35 note 1 The Reporter, 20 May 1966.

Page 35 note 2 K.A.N.U. Manifesto (Nairobi, 1965). 3–2.

Page 36 note 1 East African Standard, 15 December 1965.

Page 36 note 2 Africa Diary (Delhi), 23 09 and 17 10 1964.

Page 37 note 1 For example, Legum, Colin, ‘The Changing Ideas of Pan Africanism’, in African Forum (New York), 1, Fall 1965.

Page 37 note 2 Quoted in African Research Bulletin (Exeter, 1964), p. 124.

Page 38 note 1 See Lewis, I. M., ‘Pan-Africanism and Pan-Somalism’, in The Journal of Modern African Studies (Cambridge), 1, 2, 06 1963; and A. A. Castagno, ‘The Somali-Kenyan Controversy: implications for the future’, ibid. II, 2, July 1964.

Page 38 note 2 Report of the Northern Frontier District Commission (London, 1962), Appendix D.

Page 38 note 3 For some examples see Legum, Colin, ‘Somali Liberation Songs’, in The Journal of Modern African Studies, 1, 4, 03 1963.

Page 38 note 4 Prerequisites for Negotiation (Nairobi, 1967).

Page 39 note 1 Agreement published in Daily Nation (Nairobi), 18 09 1967.

Page 39 note 2 Memorandum quoted in African Research Bulletin, 1967, p. 881.

Page 39 note 3 East African Standard, 5 July 1966.

Page 40 note 1 Foreign Minister Dauleh, Ahmed Yusef, Sudan Echo (Khartoum), 8 09 1966.

Page 40 note 2 East African Standard, 15 December 1965.

Page 41 note 1 Ibid. 5 July 1966.

Page 42 note 1 East African Standard, 3 August 1964.

Page 43 note 1 Robson, Peter, ‘The Reshaping of East African Economic Co-operation’, in East Africa Journal, 08 1967.

Page 43 note 2 The House carried an amendment by 59 votes to 22, which added a target date to a resolution—itself carried without a division—calling for an acceleration of federation machinery. East African Standard, 19 June 1964.

Page 44 note 1 The Reporter, 2 June 1967.

Page 45 note 1 East African Standard, 5 October 1967.

Page 45 note 2 Barclays D.C.O. Overseas Review (London), 03 1966.

Page 46 note 1 Inverted commas, used once to indicate scepticism towards any attempt to classify African states into a rigid framework, are henceforth omitted.

Page 47 note 1 Pan Africa, 5 March 1965.

Page 47 note 2 Algeria, Congo-Brazzaville, Ghana, Guinea, Mali, Mauritania, Tanzania, U.A.R., Somalia, and the Sudan.

Page 48 note 1 Central African Republic, Dahomey, Gabon, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Malagasy, Togo, and Upper Volta.

Page 48 note 2 Rumours such as Murumbi receiving a cable from Nairobi during the O.A.U. meeting in Lagos in October 1965 telling him that the cabinet could not support his advocacy of force; and allegations, since denied, that James Gichuru, the Minister of Finance, had expressed an opinion during the Lagos Commonwealth Conference to the effect that Rhodesian Africans were not yet ready for independence. The Guardian (London), 2 12 1965.

* Lecturer in International Relations, University of Khartoum.

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