By Uhuru Kenyatta
The sources and drivers of threat I have just outlined can only be sighted and tackled by a state that is able to perform a set of inter-related functions that impact on the way threats are identified and dealt with.These functions are performed by each and every one of you whether you consciously perceive your ministry or institution as doing so or not.At their most fundamental, they combine to allow the state to have ten bottom-line capabilities: a legitimate monopoly on the means of violence; effective administrative control; management of public finances; investment in human capital; delineation of citizenship rights and duties; provision of infrastructure; formation of the market;
The capabilities also includes the management of the state’s assets (including the environment, natural resources, and cultural assets); international relations (including entering into international contracts and public borrowing); and the means to enforce the rule of law.In other words, the state’s functional capability is domain free. States exist in every form of ideology that drives the politics and ruling regimes of countries, be they democratic, autocratic, dictatorial, or even theocracies.Their strength in regard to national security is a function of their ability to correctly identify threats – whether to a single ruler or a democratic multitude – and most importantly, how they then marshal their financial and human resources to act against the threats, in a disciplined and consistent manner.
Our day job, expressed in the simplest way, is to build a strong state whose actions will be guided and constrained by the spirit and letter of our democratic constitution.This strong state, in being able to effectively carry out the ten functions I have outlined, can bring to bear all elements of state and national power to bear against threats to our security, protect our sovereignty, and drive our development agenda. I urge you to assess the extent to which we are able to carry out these functions in this meeting. That analysis will speak directly to our national security.
First, is the legitimate monopoly on the means of violence: our police and military forces must become the only actors with the legitimacy to wield violence. They must be ready, willing and able to secure the persons and property of all citizens. This is a key dimension of national security. The monopoly of violence also includes the analytical ability to perceive threats, and effective communication to shape perceptions of the state’s deployment of violence.Our pastoralist conflicts for one, as well as the numerous militia formations in parts of the country are indicative that that we are still not where we should be in this regard.
Second. effective administrative control: is about the reach of government authority over the territory of Kenya. It calls for rules that allocate responsibility, a responsive flow of resources and a national administration that runs from the national level to the grassroots that can act on commands from above, take initiative where necessary, and feed important information to leadership. Third, management of public finances: In the final analysis, no state can be sovereign while it relies on an external source to fund its operations.
Fortunately, Kenya is not in this position but a large section of the most vocal civil society is hopelessly dependent on foreign funding, particularly from governments with interests that may conflict with our national security. How can the state’s pursuit of national security be protected from actors that may be drivers for other agenda?Add to this the corruption that undermines security in direct fashion: shouldn’t there be areas of corrupt behaviour that are completely off limits on this basis?
Fourth, investment in human capital: Failure to invest in our young people to enable them have a livelihood, they will be a direct security threat. In addition, their inability to participate in the economy limits the state’s income in the long-term and therefore its ability to deliver security. Fifth, delineation of citizenship rights and duties: Without a widespread perception, rooted in reality, of equality of opportunity obtaining, we will never exit ethnic politics and division.We need national unity to have citizens who embrace their rights and duties in a way that does not produce permanent social or political ruptures. A concrete example is the need for all Kenyans who voted for the opposition to be served equally as those who supported Jubilee into power.
The issue of citizenship and nationhood is particularly critical now that we are implementing devolution.In spite of the freedoms and guarantees written into our constitution, we have witnessed a huge appetite for the creation of ethnic exclusive zones. This can lead to fracture, violence and conflicts.
Sixth, provision of infrastructure services: Transportation, energy and water are fundamental to the government’s ability to provide security, administrative control, and formation of the market, to all citizens. Any gaps in any of these could allow malign actors, like terrorist organisations or their sympathisers, room to operate in Kenya through the provision of basic services – leading to “capturing” our people. Seventh, formation of the market: This means the protection of property rights, enforceable contracts and transparent and enforced laws on corporate governance and conduct, land, and environmental management.
The large size of the informal market signals a refusal or inability to enter the legal realm the state oversees. This denies tax collection and by extension undermines state capability.Eighth, management of the state’s assets. This includes the environment, natural resources, and mitigating the negative effects of climate change. It is imperative to increase our forest cover, and increase our innovations to grow the green economy. Failure to regulate effectively leads to violent local and even inter-state conflict.This invites us all to think carefully about the management of new resources such as the newly discovered fossil fuels and minerals.
Ninth, international relations: our diplomats are the first line of defence abroad. They identify threats, utilise the instruments of bilateral and multilateral diplomacyto pre-empt or manage them. They advise on the external implications of treaties, and coordinate closely with other national security organs. Tenth, and finally, the rule of law: lacking it is like rot that over time eats away at the legitimacy and capability of states. The state is constituted by rules and laws; living by them, particularly in a democracy like Kenya, is a key signal to citizens and the world. Without a broadly observed rule of law, criminality and insecurity become rife.
The combination of these elements of state effectiveness is informed by the work of every institution gathered here and all add up to a strong state, able to deliver national security.I urge you to respond robustly to these thoughts especially on threat identification, and the capabilities we need to strengthen or develop a new secure the republic.In doing this, I urge that we always remember that there is no situation where we shall have all the resources we need to address the challenges. The fundamental issue therefore is how to calibrate available resources and elements of power, against clearly defined priorities to optimally attain the desired end.These ten dimensions of state effectiveness speak to our highest strategic priorities. They should form the basis for our own evaluation of success.
Going forward, I shall assess the performance of each ministry within a strategic framework of each one of these indicators of state effectiveness.Let me say very clearly, we will defend this country at all costs; there is simply no more important priority for us in government and as Kenyans. Concluded
Mr. Uhuru Kenyatta is the President of Kenya, ravaged by sectarian insurgency just as Nigeria.