Influence of Natural Resource-Based Conflicts on Security in Tana River County, Kenya

Douglas Fanuel Chikandah, Bernard Munyao Muiya


Access to natural resources is increasingly being considered a security issues and cannot therefore be taken for granted. This is because natural resources normally occur alongside other conflict items like territory and regional predominance. In low-income countries like Kenya, access to natural resources is a serious issue especially when such countries lack enough capacity to deal with environmental challenges and scarcity. The study therefore assessed the influence of resource-based conflicts on security in Tana River County, Kenya. The specific objective was to assess the security threats associated with natural resource-based conflicts in Tana River County, Kenya. The study was underpinned by two theories; the structural conflict theory and the neo-Malthusian theory. Through the mixed methods design (cross-sectional survey and phenomenology), data was collected through questionnaire, interview and focus group discussions. The sources of data were household heads in Ngao and Kilengwani divisions of Tana River County, Kenya. Other sources of data were sub-county police commanders and the ward commanders from the Kenya Police Service in Tana River County as well as the area County commissioner and his subsequent Deputy County commissioners. Sampling was through proportionate (household heads) and purposive (key informants) approaches. Quantitative data was analyzed through descriptive and inferential statistics and qualitative data thematically. The study established that natural resource-based conflicts is a frequent phenomenon in Tana River County as was observed by 97.9 per cent of the study participants. The study established that natural resources that led to frequent conflicts were water, pasture, and land. Three types of threats were linked to natural resource-based conflicts in Tana River County: personal, community and environmental security. Based on the stufy findings, it was recommended that the Ministry of Agriculture in collaboration with the Ministry of Water and Sanitation and Irrigation generate natural resources policies that will create the existence of sufficient water points in the hinterland. The two ministries should revive the collapsed irrigation schemes in order to create livelihoods for community members thus reducing the tensions between the dominant Pokomo and Orma communities.

Keywords: Natural Resource-Based Conflicts, security threats

DOI: 10.7176/PPAR/11-5-05

Publication date:June 30th 2021

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ISSN (Paper)2224-5731 ISSN (Online)2225-0972

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