East Africa: Developments At the Horn Quite Worrying
The Nation (Nairobi)
31 October 2007
Posted to the web 30 October 2007
Events are unfolding in the Horn Africa region in which Kenya should have an abiding interest, but it would seem matters so crucial to our foreign policy and security are playing second fiddle to the current preoccupation with electioneering.
In neighbouring Somalia, a rift between President Abdullahi Yusuf and Prime Minister Ali Mohamed Ghedi this week forced the resignation of the latter, threatening the stability of a government already struggling for survival against widespread insurgency.
In Sudan, earlier, the southern representatives to the national government in Khartoum were pulled out in a dramatic escalation of tensions that threatened the fragile peace agreement which ended decades of civil war.
Kenya was conspicuously silent when those developments were taking place. This is strange considering the central role played by the country in brokering both the Sudan peace agreement and also the talks that established the interim government in Somalia.
Both Sudan and Somalia remain essential planks of our foreign policy, and are also of great strategic, security and commercial interest.
South Sudan, for instance, is an exciting new frontier for Kenya’s trade and industry. This country also happens to be fast developing as the natural gateway to a region blessed with vast potential. There is no telling what harm a resurgence of hostilities between north and south would do to our interests.
In Somalia, Kenya played a key role in helping establish the interim government. It also quietly supported the Ethiopian military offensive that checked the advance of the radical Islamists, seen as surrogates for international terrorist groups.
Thus, Kenya cannot afford to sit back and watch with disinterest internal feuds that weaken the Somali government, for the alternative may be a comeback of the radicals.
A hostile administration in Somalia with links to global terrorism is something Kenya should not countenance, for such a regimen would pose a direct and very real threat to our national security.