Decision Making and Kenya’s Foreign Policy Behaviour: The Moi and Kibaki Presidencies in Perspective

  • Mercy Kaburu United States International University-Africa
Keywords: Kenya, Foreign policy, Decision-making, Presidency.

Abstract

Kenya’s foreign policy has overly been characterised by continuity and change, with idiosyncrasies of the president informing most foreign policy decision outcomes.  This reality is further reinforced by institutional and structural discrepancies associated with periodic elections, some of which have had significant changes on the presidency as a core institution in Kenya’s foreign policy decision making process. Such was the case in 2002 general elections that witnessed the end of President Moi’s twenty-four-year rule, and ushered in Mwai Kibaki as the third president of Kenya. In an attempt to explore the continuity and change in Kenya’s foreign policy behaviour during the Moi and Kibaki presidencies, this paper adopts decision making theory as a framework of analysis. The actor-specific decision-making theory conceives the individual human decision maker as the focal ontological unit, whose actions whether singly or in groups are responsible for state behaviour. In this paper I argue that, continuity and change exhibited by Kenya’s foreign policy behaviour during the Moi and Kibaki presidencies was informed by individual decision makers, acting singly or in a group, within the constraints of existing institutions of the state, where internal and external influences are channelled through to inform state behaviour.

 

Author Biography

Mercy Kaburu, United States International University-Africa

Kenya’s foreign policy has overly been characterised by continuity and change, with idiosyncrasies of the president informing most foreign policy decision outcomes.  This reality is further reinforced by institutional and structural discrepancies associated with periodic elections, some of which have had significant changes on the presidency as a core institution in Kenya’s foreign policy decision making process. Such was the case in 2002 general elections that witnessed the end of President Moi’s twenty-four-year rule, and ushered in Mwai Kibaki as the third president of Kenya. In an attempt to explore the continuity and change in Kenya’s foreign policy behaviour during the Moi and Kibaki presidencies, this paper adopts decision making theory as a framework of analysis. The actor-specific decision-making theory conceives the individual human decision maker as the focal ontological unit, whose actions whether singly or in groups are responsible for state behaviour. In this paper I argue that, continuity and change exhibited by Kenya’s foreign policy behaviour during the Moi and Kibaki presidencies was informed by individual decision makers, acting singly or in a group, within the constraints of existing institutions of the state, where internal and external influences are channelled through to inform state behaviour.

 

Published
2020-09-08
Section
Articles

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eISSN: 1998-1279