IGNORE ICJ

Ask AU, Igad to arbitrate Kenya-Somalia row

Conflict is driven by commercial and geo-strategic considerations by foreign actors.

In Summary

• Uhuru should send naval assets to patrol the disputed territory.

• Kenya’s territorial integrity is at stake, and the government should stop at nothing to protect the country’s borders.

Police officers patrol the Indian Ocean.
Police officers patrol the Indian Ocean.

We commend the government’s effort to restart negotiations with Somalia to end the maritime conflict after collapse of previous talks.

We also recognise the complaints filed with the Norwegian and British governments, which Kenya accuses of fuelling the conflict.

But I posit that these efforts are not enough. Kenya’s territorial integrity is at stake, and the government should stop at nothing to protect the country’s borders.

The conflict is driven by commercial and geo-strategic considerations by foreign actors who don’t care about the consequences it will have on the citizens of the two countries.

On one side, Western commercial entities are sponsoring the government in Mogadishu to file the maritime case at the International Court of Justice hoping for a favourable outcome after the Somalia authorities auctioned oil blocks to them in the disputed territory.

On the other hand, Middle East countries are behind efforts to revive the secessionist agenda of the Northern Frontier District in their Islam expansionist agenda in the Horn of Africa.

As one academic has suggested, “Kenya should disregard the ICJ process and push for the dispute to be resolved as a regional matter.”

Meanwhile, Kenya should take a siege mentality approach like Israel by realising it has hostile neighbours and become proactive instead of waiting for directions from abroad on the crisis.

The Kenyan authorities are waiting for a positive verdict from the very people who have created the crisis. As the saying goes, he who pays the piper calls the tune.

The dispute should be arbitrated by the AU and Igad, both of who have a stake on the matter, not foreign arbitrators who are simply driven by greed.

Meanwhile, Kenya should take a siege mentality approach like Israel by realising it has hostile neighbours and become proactive instead of waiting for directions from abroad on the crisis.

One way that would show that Kenya isn’t taking the issue lying down is by employing gun-boat diplomacy.

I want to believe that this was one of the reasons that Kenya Coast Guard Service was created at a huge cost to the taxpayer, to enforce law and order in Kenya’s territorial waters.

President Uhuru Kenyatta should send the MV Doria and other naval assets to patrol the disputed offshore territory in the meantime.

Kenya and Somalia will always be neighbours; peaceful coexistence and trade should matter to them, not the commercial interests and ulterior motives of foreigners.

Doha, Qatar