Uhuru Kenyatta: Kenya will not cede an inch of its soil to anyone

President Uhuru Kenyatta and Chief of Defence Forces Robert Kibochi when they arrived in Boni Forest.[PSCU, Standard]

President Uhuru Kenyatta has maintained his government will not cede even an inch of its soil to anyone or any state.

In what appeared to be a reference to the Kenya-Somalia Maritime dispute, the head of state said Kenya is ready to defend its territorial integrity just as it has defended the peace of other countries.

Uhuru spoke in Boni Forest on Wednesday where he visited the Multi-Agency Security teams that have been undertaking joint training.

He said although Kenya is a peace-loving country, it will not allow an inch of its territory to end up in the hands of another country.

“Tukiwa taifa ambalo lapenda amani, sisis sio taifa ambalo litakubalki kuingiliwa, au kutiushwa ama tukubalki hata inchi moja ya taifa letu kuingia kwa mikono ya watu wengine. Tuko tayari kulinda amani  ya nchi yetu kama vile tunavyo linda mani ya nchi zingine,”  Uhuru said.

This loosely translates to, “As a peace-loving country, we are not the type to be attacked or threatened or even allow an inch of our country to end up in the hands of other people. We are ready to defend ourselves just as we have defended peace in other countries”.

Uhuru said the joint training for the National Police, National Youth Service, Kenya Wildlife Services and Kenya Coast Guard Services will go a long way in boosting the morale of the officers in undertaking joint operations.

He said knowing each other and working on cooperation in operations will play an integral role in the enhancing effectiveness of security across the country.

Uhuru’s sentiments comes after Nairobi withdrew from the maritime case citing procedural unfairness at the International Court of Justice(ICJ).

Kenya said the decision was made after extensive consultation on how best to protect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Republic of Kenya.

A map showing the disputed area

Kenya had asked for the case to be delayed while it briefed a new legal team, and also cited the coronavirus pandemic, but the ICJ ruled the case should be heard virtually.

In a letter to the Registrar at the ICJ Philippe Gautier, Kenya outlined that while it had no doubt about the merits of its case, procedural unfairness had left doubt on whether substantive justice would be done.

Kenya restated that it should not have been dragged to the Court by Somalia merely because of the neighbour’s resurgent expansionist agenda.

The dispute concerns a 160,000 sq km triangle in the Indian Ocean.

The area is thought to be rich in oil and gas.

In 2019, President Uhuru Kenyatta maintained that Somalia should allow negotiations over the disputed oil field.

President Uhuru Kenyatta when arrived at Boni Forest.[PSCU,Standard]

While making the appeal when he addressed the General Debate of the 74th United Nations General Assembly in New York, Uhuru said Kenya remains committed to its pursuit of peace and stability in the region.

Uhuru said such commitment is what will see neighboring countries achieve their development agenda.

"The commitment to pursue peace and security remains at the core of Kenya’s foreign policy. I am pleased to say that combined efforts to advance peace and security in the region continue to bear fruits," he said.

Uhuru urged his counterpart Farmajo to consider dialogue and negotiation as an option for resolving the maritime border dispute.

"In the same spirit, my administration continues to reach out to Somalia in an effort to find an amicable and sustainable solution to the maritime boundary dispute between us," he said.

But Farmajo objected the calls saying the case at the ICJ would proceed to full hearing.