Home >

KENYA’S POLICY ON BRITISH PLANES TO AND FROM SOUTH AFRICA: GOING AGAINST O.A.U RESOLUTION

written by ANTONY MBITHI on 11-05-2011

From a critical point of view, Kenya’s criticism of British arms sale to South Africa as noted earlier is rather paradoxical. The criticism which amounted to nothing supposedly came about because of the latter’s apartheid policy. This policy in the long run made most African states to declare openly that they would have no links, directly or indirectly with South Africa, be it social, political or economic links. Kenya was one of such states. But the paradox arises from the fact that Kenya allowed contrary to O.A.U. resolutions, British planes, as well as other Western international airlines, going to, or coming from South Africa to use her air space and her airports. This, in our view, amounted to compliance with British economic interests (Morgenthau Hans, “Politics Among Nations: The Struggle for Power and Peace” Penguin1985)



In 1980, Kenya’s minister for transport made a policy statement that Kenya would continue to serve aircraft or other international airlines flying to and from South Africa. These included planes from London (Robert O Keohane and Joseph Nye, “Transformational Relations and World Politics (Harvard University Press, 1973)



The Thirty-Fifth Ordinary Session of the O.A.U. Council of Ministers, held in Freetown, Sierra Leone, from 18-28 June, 1980, while recalling its decision contained in CM/Res. 13(II) of 3 June 1964, re-affirmed and called on member states to take necessary steps to deny any airplanes or ships or any other means of communication going to or coming from South Africa, the right to fly over their territories or utilize their Airports or any other facilities.

Against their background, the decision by Kenya, which was at the above mentioned to continue allowing unabatedly British planes among others to land in the country, on their way to and from South Africa, amounted to, as earlier noted, to political compliance with salient British economic interests. Here again, Kenya’s economic dependence on Britain determined her foreign policy behavior towards the latter.

As a British dependent ally, she could not object to the use of her airspace and airports, in the style of Tanzania, by British planes, to and from South Africa. Apart from the money levied from these planes, the economic assistance received from and other western nations, and which far surpasses the feed from the use of her airports, constrained Kenya into allowing British planes to use her facilities.

 Maintenance of Defense arrangements with Britain

One of Kenya’s pro-British and U.S policy critic was Oginga Odinga, Kenya’s first Vice-president. Odinga and other radical politicians in 1981 particularly singled out Kenya’s permission to British troops to continue enjoying naval military colonialism and called for an end to this “dangerous British imperialism”. The Kenya government, without mentioning Odinga warned its detractors to watch out and made it clear that her policy of allowing the British troops the right to carry out military training on Kenya soil, and which was made in 1964, would continue to be guaranteed. The government observed that the military arrangement with Britain was not a threat to national and regional security.

The above position by the Kenya government as regards allowing the British troops the freedom to train in Kenya is a true reflection of co-operation and political compliance with issues of salience to Britain. Maintaining training ground in Kenya ensured that British investments and interests in East Africa region were secure. For students of International relations as well as those familiar with workings of international politics, we have argued that this kind of foreign policy behavior exhibited by Kenya is hardly surprising. This is more so against the background that Kenya continues to be the single largest recipient of British overseas aid. So, on the basis a real politic approach analysis, there was every logic in the government’s policy, or so, it appears (J. A Ballard, “policymaking in a New State”, Papua New Guinea 1972-77 (University of Queensland press, London, 1978)



In line with Odinga’s criticism of Kenya’s compliance with British interests, we are inclined to advance the argument that compliance, however remotely manifests itself in Kenya’s ability to react to forces of imperialism and to those structures created to continue the links and perpetuate the relationship; for international relations are largely economic relations, and all other relations are dependent on the economic order that is operative. Yet as long as Kenya’s national interest of economic development received British assistance, the government could not be swayed by her pro-British critics like Odinga.



REFERENCES

1. J. A Ballard, “policymaking in a New State”, Papua New Guinea 1972-77 (University of Queensland press, London, 1978)

2. Morgenthau Hans, “Politics Among Nations: The Struggle for Power and Peace” Penguin1985

3. Robert O Keohane and Joseph Nye, “Transformational Relations and World Politics (Harvard University Press, 1973)

Author: ANTONY MBITHI
Date Submited: 11-05-2011

1800 To 2000 Articles

LACK OF DEMOCRACY AS A CAUSE OF CONFLICT IN THE DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO

POLICY ON BRITISH ARMS SALE TO SOUTH AFRICA: DESIGNIFIED DIPLOMACY

KENYA’S POLICY ON BRITISH PLANES TO AND FROM SOUTH AFRICA: GOING AGAINST O.A.U RESOLUTION