Somalia car bomb attack death toll rises to 84
There are compelling reasons for Kenya and Somalia to strive to uphold pragmatic ties which anchor fraternal, security, economic and sovereign interests.
Currently Kenya feels that despite years of acting benefactor at huge economic and human cost, Mogadishu is not doing enough to reciprocate, instead fanning strains in the relations.
Kenya feels backstabbed, for example, that her neighbour by declining to amicably settle their 100,000 square kilometres maritime dispute instead referred the matter to the International Court of Justice.
Save for Afghanistan, no state in modern era has been through the nightmare Somali people have witnessed.
The country has been without real central authority since the overthrow of Mohamed Siad Barre three decades ago.
Somalia has during that period, been the most frequently cited top of failed states, blighted by warlordism, savage clan and fratricidal animosities and in recent years, afflicted by the cancer of jihadist outfit called Al Shabaab.
At this point, it’s probably not foregone conclusion but media reports that a Somali firm has been sabotaging telecommunication by blowing up masts erected by Kenyan telcos at massive costs, in Garissa, Wajir and Mandera with dire security implications are disgusting.
It’s all the more horrendous that the firm allegedly pays al Shabaab tens of millions of dollars to execute their vile strategy in efforts to expand market presence within and beyond Somalia.
Mogadishu authorities must come clean on this for they must be issuing operation licenses to the firm.
Private or institutional engagement with a terrorist outfit that has caused extensive bloodshed to Kenyans is absolutely unacceptable.
On the disputed oil and gas finds, Kenya’s stance has been that the two states should engage in dialogue instead of international court arbitration which in any case serves as the last resort.
It’s inexplicable that section of top Mogadishu leadership, individual loyalties and where they had taken refuge notwithstanding, allow themselves to be used as pawns by external extractive interests and other geo-strategic considerations to push for options that clearly hurt Kenya.
Kenya and Somalia are destined to remain neighbours for eternity but even more critical is the inherent demographic dynamics inherent. A large segment of Kenya’s population are of Somali stock. This shared heritage deserves strengthening.