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It’s a ‘zero-sum game’ as Kenya and Somalia feud to give Europe access to their oil and gas

By Peter Kimani | October 15th 2021
Somali marine forces patrol the Indian Ocean waters in Mogadishu, Somalia October 13, 2021.[Reuters, Feisal Omar]

Now, now, now, one has to tread carefully about this Kenya-Somalia tiff, as Prezzo UK is in a foul mood.

He used very strong language to describe the International Court of Justice sitting at The Hague—yes, in the same city where the International Criminal Court once sat to hear serious allegations against Prezzo and his able Deputy—so this is a particularly sensitive matter.

Prezzo UK called the court’s ruling a ‘zero-sum game’ over Somalia’s quest for some 100,000 square kilometres of the Indian Ocean, which would considerably reduce Kenya’s access to the sea.

But that’s only part of the equation.

The disputed sea floor contains blocks of oil and gas that Nairobi and Mogadishu (previous Somali governments actually operated from Nairobi), have auctioned to European oil producers.

Put another way, this is another scramble for Africa’s mineral wealth, and the biggest beneficiaries are not East Africans, but European capitalists. And it’s Africans fighting to give Europe access to its resources!

And since Kenyan troops are on Somalia soil as part of the African Union’s peace-keeping mission (Amisom) where would that be considered to be on “enemy” territory?

And what would be an estimate of the costs, in terms of human casualties and actual monies, that have been expended to keep Somalia safe for 10 years?

Such common-sense approach, of course, would be considered too simplistic, as is the question that the wig-wearing judges in The Hague did not pose: How have other maritime boundaries in the region being demarcated? There are Kenya/Tanzania and Tanzania/Mozambique maritime borders, and no one is feuding about them.

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