By David Matsanga
n African Forum wishes to issue the following statement in support of IGAD initiatives for peace in the region. For a long time now, the Federal Government of Somalia (FGS) has labelled several and outrageous grievances against Kenya which on several occasions have led to diplomatic tiff between the two countries. Commensurate to the cycles of such conflicts, Somalia has been quick to recall its ambassador to Nairobi and sending Kenyan Ambassador to Mogadishu in the reverse direction.
The latest of such diplomatic tiffs between the two countries happened in November 2020 on what Somalia alleged as interference by Nairobi on its internal affairs. All Somali accusations against Kenya have never been proven true to date. The recent fighting in Bulla Hawo, South West of Somalia bordering Madera town is yet another indicator of the incessant threats to Kenya’s national security emanating from Somalia under the auspices of President Farmajo’s FGS administration. Under President Farmajo, Somalia has ceaselessly accused Kenya of meddling into its internal affairs, the latest
Allegation being that Kenya is hosting and funding a Somali rebel group. An allegation which is untrue according to Kenyan authorities. Inimical activities by the FGS towards Kenya are retrogressive given the backdrop of many decades of political instability and insecurity in Somalia which has been occasioned by Al-Shabaab.
The porosity of Kenya’s border with Somalia has occasionally been used by Al-Shabaab and other criminal elements to create insecurity along the border areas and sometimes into the interior of Kenya. Consequently Kenya has responded by heightening security operations along the border with Somalia. Under the AMISOM mandate, the Kenyan troops have also remained in Somalia as part of the African Union’s ongoing stabilization and pacification processes.
It is therefore foolhardy for the government of Somalia to hoodwink other neighboring states and the international community that Kenya is working to undermine the ongoing peace processes and other internal matters of interests to Somalia. The Intergovernmental Authority for Development (IGAD) is seized of the diplomatic tiff between Kenya and Somalia and has been instrumental in
Resolving the cyclic conflicts between the two countries. Unlike Kenya, Somalia has been indifferent in welcoming the IGAD led initiative to arrive an amicable solution to alleged grievances which Somalia has always raised against Kenya. The recent accusations by Somalia that Kenya is arming a militia close to its common border with the latter is working at cross-purposes with IGAD led initiative to find lasting solutions to the cyclic diplomatic rows between the two countries.
Factors that are pertinent in Kenya’s relations with Somalia While Somalia seems to downplay the important role Kenya has played in restoring peace and stability after many decades of lawlessness and instability in the country. There are a number of salient issues which the manufactured hatred against Kenya should not cloud out; •Kenya has sincere security interests in the region. It cannot be refuted that Al-Shabaab and other terror groups operating in Somalia and beyond pose national security threats to Kenya and other states in the regional. Peace and stability in the
Region is an all-encompassing national security interest which should inform diplomatic engagement in the region. Farmajo’s administration should underscore the important role Kenya continues to play stabilizing Somalia and work with partner states to return Somalia to a lasting peace and stability. •Security and stability across Kenya-Somali border is important for local populations in terms of trade and other cultural exchanges.
Parochial interests of the FGS shouldn’t overshadow the genuine need for peace and stability for the local communities living across the border areas which continue to experience sporadic conflicts due to inimical activities of FGS. •Somalia has never been forthright on its allegations against Kenya, the allegations seems to be charades aimed at covering up for the shortcomings of President Farmajo’s administration. President Farmajo is up for elections and seems keen on stroking manufactured hatred towards Kenya to divert the attention of the population back at home. Since postponing last year’s general elections, Farmajo
Has been keen of finding scapegoats to hoodwink Somalis back at home to support his failing administration. •Kenya’s heightened security operations along the border areas with Somalia is premised on the existence of Al-Shabaab in Somalia and hence the necessity to protect its border areas from access by the militia group from Somalia. This, Kenya has ably done using its national security forces and agencies. To accuse Kenya of funding a militia is an affront tithe state and the people of Kenya.
I BELIEVE that Kenya will remain committed to peace processes and stabilization of Somalia which is a part of the country’s regional commitment to peace and stability. Kenya stands to gain nothing when its neighboring states are at war. Therefore, Somalia should cease from labelling wild allegations against Kenya. •The Kenya Defense Forces (KDF) troops in Somalia remains under the auspices of the AMISOM therefore Somali’s continual accusation of KDF troops’ misdemeanor is not in good faith. In any case, Somali national security
Pan African Forum