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Is Kenya’s reaction to dispute with Somalia over islands justified?

By Rosalinda Makonjio | May 24th 2019 at 00:00:00 GMT +0300

Is Kenya’s reaction to dispute with Somalia over islands justified?

Somalia went to the dogs in the early 1990s  because of bad politics. To date, there are no indications those bad politics will end anytime soon. The thing, however, is that Somalia only started laying claim to the disputed Islands in 2014 with the discovery of oil.

In fact, Kenya has been patient and even chose international arbitration over the matter, but Somalia became impatient and took Kenya’s soft stand as weakness. Emboldened, Somalia is said to have gone as far as auctioning oil blocks on the Islands without Kenya’s knowledge.

Since independence, the Islands have been known to belong to Kenya, but Somalia seeks to alter the way the maritime border runs to position the Islands in its jurisdiction. Considering that Kenya has always been there for Somalia, even enduring the wrath of Al Shabaab, this is a stab in the back for Kenya. KDF is in Somalia defending the latter’s sovereignty at great cost, but all Somalia thinks of is acquiring oil fields it has no wherewithal to manage.

Thus, because Somalia has chosen to become the enemy, Kenya has every right to defend itself against such an enemy. Diplomatic pressure should be put on Somalia to change the thinking of its leaders who might be responding to stimuli from elsewhere, particularly in regard to the oil find. Somalia government officials should be restricted from roaming about in Kenya. They should stay in Mogadishu and try to put their country back on track.

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