An East African Arms Race?

A number of Kenyan blogs and fora have been discussing the military buildup in the Great Lakes and Nile Basin region. The purchase of several Su-30MKs by the Ugandan government and MiG-29s by Tanzania and Sudan seems to indicate that the race for control of East and Central Africa‘s mineral wealth is in top gear. In response, Kenya is purported to be acquiring three dozen F-15 Strike Eagle aircraft. Are we witnessing an East African arms race?

In addition to unfathomable quantities of every sort of industrial mineral imaginable, East and Central Africa is awash with oil and gas deposits. At the same time, dwindling oil reserves in the Middle East are expected to be depleted by mid-century. This makes African hydrocarbons particularly appealing. The entry of China into the equation and the increasing influence in Africa of emerging powers such as Brazil and India is leveling the playing field. The age of unfettered access and exploitation by the Old Economies is coming to an ignominious and much-anticipated end.
The controlled exploitation of this wealth is vital to Kenya’s economic growth and enfranchisement, and her ability to independently manipulate – and dominate – these mineral resources is fast becoming a reality. With the prospect of near-exponential economic expansion knocking at her door, Kenya has taken a number of far-reaching measures to secure and protect her vital national interests. A new political dispensation, promotion of rapid economic growth through public investment, incentives for private industrial development, expansion and diversification of the manufacturing base, massive investments in physical and fibre optic infrastructure and the extensive rearmament of her military are powerful indications that Kenya is indeed gearing up to do so.
The scale of the latter two is particularly impressive. The Lamu Port-Southern Sudan-Ethiopia Transport (Lapsset) Corridor is projected to cost $16 billion. The project comprises Lamu port and Manda Bay, a standard gauge railway line, a superhighway connecting Lamu to Juba and Addis Ababa, an oil pipeline to S. Sudan, an oil refinery at Lamu and three international airports at Lamu, Isiolo and Lokichoggio, which will be developed into resort cities. The magnitude of this project is mind-boggling.
The proposed trans-African Lamu Free Port will serve a vast hinterland – Kenya, the EAC, S. Sudan, Ethiopia, the Central African Republic, DR Congo, Congo-Brazzaville and Chad. It  will be the largest port on the continent and a mega-hub for transshipment traffic. It will also serve as a landbridge port for an international transport corridor that will eventually extend all the way to Douala. The port will be located well away from Lamu Town, which is a Unesco-protected world heritage site. Mombasa port will be dredged and expanded and will continue to serve Kenya, Uganda and the Great Lakes states. The two ports will play a complementary role and are crucial to the development of Kenya into a global maritime power. The integrated transport corridor connecting Lamu port to Juba and Addis Ababa will include a high-speed (160 km/h) standard gauge railway and a transcontinental superhighway and fibre optic link.  An important objective of the corridor is to export oil from Sudan.
To protect her vital interests, Kenyan political and military strategists have deemed it necessary to develop an aggressive military deterrent due to the concern that the region’s vast resources could ignite a regional conflict as a proxy manifestation of Western interests. The rearmament includes the imminent delivery of three dozen F-15E Strike Eagle aircraft and a similar number of F-5Es to replace the current ageing fleet. This represents a massive upgrade in firepower. In addition, the Kenya Army has already taken possession of 110 T-72 tanks (of the MV Faina fame) and there have been major acquisitions of other military hardware, including APCs/IFVs and self-propelled artillery systems. An unspecified number of Mi-35P helicopter gunships to complement the Air Cavalry’s existing arsenal are also said to be under consideration. The newly-commissioned air-borne light infantry Ranger Battalion will complement the elite 20 Para Battalion and military planners are developing a doctrine of offensive defense, which calls for compact, specialist units that are easier to deploy and with a substantial ability to project themselves.
This isn’t an arms race. This is merely the logical evolution of the region’s economic and military superpower.
  1. >i think this is more like it…. i saw an unfinished comment on my blogg from planet africa…congrats man you are spot onregards SPIDERman

  2. >Am I welcome here, Vitruvian?What a bloody wonderful analogue you have made of this topic, man!! Great stuff, and all spot on! I am passing this link to colleagues, and you will receive an inordinate traffic from Uniforms on matters-military in very short order. Unless of course big-bruda kDoD calls chaps to order.Brilliant, and well done. With this site and the Eastafricafiles, we have options now, and I certain each of these will eventually develop a specific charactor unique to each and will compliment each other. Bwana!!

  3. >You are indeed welcome ole Nkarei, as is Spiderman and anyone else who may wish to post, comment or browse. Yours have been valued opinions across all the sites I have had the opportunity to follow your pen. This blog will appreciate you no less.Nashukuru sana for the endorsement. Karibuni wote!

  4. >Across at the Chronicle, Tororo posted reports of UPDF expansion of their expenditionary force in mogadishu to 1O,OOO men. Citing reports in The Red Pepper Newspaper, claiming to be based on official government leeks, he proceeded to opine that these men and ties kit as well as heavy combat equipment transitted through Kenya to Mogadishu by rail, sea and air. And all so surreptitiously done that it escapes the notice of Military and Civillian Intelligence and Media in Kenya. Not even the Kibera villagers get a whiff of this rail traffic! This is so utterly false as to be hideous. It means that I've keen asleep on the job as have been a whole lot of People. And I so much as tell my friend Tororo so. There has add heavier than usual traffic of UPDF thro Kenya in september and October, but it is a controlled rotation of their expenditionary elements and resupply of stores. Indeed M7 did send out feelers to GoK to allow covert build-up thro Kenya and was rebuffed and asked to take this suggestion thro IGAD. That is what hit the rumour-mill in Kampala, peddled by their Intelligence to give impression to the Ugandans population that M7 's arrogant posturing, following the kampala bombings, has substance. It hasn't,

  5. >I appreciate the fact that Tororo contributes to the Chronicle but I'm not overly impressed by his posts. He seems to be constantly tripping on his laces then pointing his finger somewhere else. His insinuation is that he is affiliated with the intelligence establishment is suspect, to say the least. Unless by marriage. And if he is, Uganda has my deepest sympathies. Even to the uninitiated, the notion that Uganda could have sent military hardware via rail to Mombasa without anyone being the wiser is to bludgeon human intelligence.

  6. >I totally agree with you and ole nkarei s snapshots of one tororo.i trained my sights on him some time back while we exchanged vitriolic remarks awhile ago on the chronicle.Am afraid he failed my test.Never the less he is still trying to be relevant so i tend to give him more chances than a countersniper would give to a would be sniper.

  7. >Too true, friends. They say viet wisdom does rub off and wise is he that walks in the shadow of his elders – or something to that effect. Remembering his early posts in comparison with these later, I reckon this night be true of the brother. Cut him some slack, or give him some rope, fellas – time will surely tell which of these two he took.

  8. >come to think of it even at nyati house we had cleaners, plumbers,and electricians,groundsmen who did the flowers etc.So i dont need to say what am thinking here…

  9. >Exactly my suspicions, Web-spinner, say no more. But one would expect the NSA to have better sophistication / quality on their Eastern Africa Desk. And now see this translucent probe by this fella Andre in the Chronicle – can't get a hit on that Major he referenced. Probably Risasi will light him up as he claimed his friendship in his primary contact.

  10. >Risasi is posting on the East African forum so there might be some substance to Andre's claim. One would expect Risasi to be the first to react in such a case. However, there's more than a single individual posting as Admin at East African. Andre seems not to be from Africa ("…Africa is a nice continent and i hope to come for a safari in the future…"), or so he would have us believe, and his grammar seems to indicate that he isn't a native speaker of English (but then again, the same could be said of Dubya). Tutaona.Sticking to cloaks and daggers, after posting the Nile Treaty/Denial article, Planet Africana experienced some unusually heavy traffic from, of all places, Francophone Niger. 16-year-old Amadou doing research for his homework project?

  11. >There is definately something about the mode of traffic at East african files as well.we are seeing an more than normal traffic from Niger, Slovenia and Italy.These could be listening posts for more well equipped out fits just keeping tabs on the ciber space activity about the region.Traffic from Kenya has increased as soon as the military pictures and the civilian spy ring story was put up.Traffic from Sudan has stabilised while that from Uganda is trickling in.Iam puzzled why we have traffic from TZ suddenly stop .The heaviest traffic we are getting by far is USA,UK and Canada.The andre fellow .. i am sniffing him out and so far my probes are reaching and leaning to wards the conclusion that this is an ex operative in MI activity,probably an IT backroom operative.Risasi can tell us if we are wrongmy suspicion is that traffic from the former eastern block country is something to do with our very knowledgable friend @mugwiira..otherwise i think we are doing fine.

  12. >I have opted to cut and paste this response from the chronicle by one tororo verbim…just analysing the wording makes me confirm my worst doubts and fears-"Tororo, on October 19, 2010 at 6:30 pm Said:Spider belive me If I could be on the ground I would be. infact I have always wanted to be posted in EA even at an embassy but that would mean me switching jobs. foreign Intel is C.I.A area “officially”. but I would not take these people infor seriously if it was not cause in the end it would make me look stupid infront of my superiors. About increased US involvement Somalia, they have always wanted that to happen but the “official” stand is that no more new wars. at least for now proberblly untill after the mid term elections. the white house is “focusing” on the economy and jobs. after the elections and seeing what kind of damage has been done may be then people will get more asertive. They are people who have a serious “eye” for Iran and N. Korea infact if the President had the economy as in Clinton’s years, Iran would have been invaded by now and there would be also a visable involment in Somalia. for now they will go with giveing KLA and Adis instructions."I am not sure that an intel operative will come up with such an explanation to weighty matters like what he is implying

  13. >Ehe. So I guess he's, let's say, an intelligence analyst – he's been lusting for a field posting. And since "foreign" intel is CIA (even C.I.A.) officially, I guess we're to assume that he's with "domestic" US intelligence. He's always wanted to be posted to EA, even an embassy, so he's not with the State Dept. That leaves Defence, Homeland Security, Justice, Treasury and Energy. Whatever the case, we should be awed and honored to be rubbing shoulders with the like.Like Andre, unless he's typing and posting whilst driving to and from work, he's no Harvard graduate. But weren't you talking about cleaners, plumbers (heh, heh!) and electricians, Spidey? Anyway, as Tom says, perhaps we should cut him some slack. Preposterous yes, harmful no.

  14. >The Saudi Arms Deal, a whopping Usd60 Billion of it, approved by Congress without a whimper. 75000 American jobs guaranteed for the next 15 years. Hidden in this print of this deal are both the not-so-good intentions towards Iran and like-minded Arabs (and present Shield over Israel) and also the transfer of existing stocks our of Saudi Arabia to other centers around which present and future American deterrence strategising revolve. In this, you will find Risasi detested eef-fifteen-eees hidden amongst the eef-fifteen-cees presently in Saudi Arabia Stores, that will be making way for the new one contained in this deal!! Heady times, these are, that my head is giddy with excitement!!

  15. >And before it slips me, a word of caution about these benign probes supposedly from Obama-land. From hip-shot response to my inquiries, in shadowy places, smell is strong and acrid.

  16. I delight in, result in I discovered just what I used to be looking for.

    You’ve ended my 4 day long hunt! God Bless you man. Have a great day.

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