by Abukar Awale ( Qaaddiid )
In the context of international relations and diplomacy between neighbouring countries, Somalia and Kenya cannot be in open hostility in its perpetuity. Our geography with Kenya is not by choice, although in the context of Kenyan’s recent belligerent aggression, such choice would have been welcomed. What is clear is that there are signs both countries are close to a meeting of minds and restoration of diplomatic engagement is on the horizon.
This is realpolitik, but we have to ask – at what cost to the Somali public? On this point, I take the view opening Khat trade should be out of the question for two integral and critical reasons. First, history has shown the Kenyan government cannot be trusted in its entirety. Second, Kenya cannot be rewarded for its open warfare against innocent children/families, Somali businesses and the threat of closure of Dadaab/Kakakuma refugee camps, unnecessarily displacing innocent families for political and financial expediency while tainting them with a security risk tag when these people can barely find two meals a day to eat, let alone three. It is within these confines that Kenyan government represent the worse of its kind.
The overall belligerency of Kenya on all fronts has been staggering and points to the chaotic nature of Kenya foreign policy. As an ardent campaigner of change against khat use and abuse across Somalia, I have also received deaths threats recently about my peaceful campaigning activities to help better Somalia without khat abuse. One cannot be sure of who sent those messages from Kenya, but the nature and cocktail of politics and business that exists in Kenya would only point to collusion between the two entities. The recent death of a Somali businessman in early April 2021, also demonstrates the murky criminal underworld and Kenyan state apparatus.
It is also worth noting the Kenyan government has gone as far as issuing threats against United Nations flights that are delivering vital food programmes to Internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Somalia, which include children and families. This level of callous desperation in Kenya’s foreign policy amounts to political ransom by any means necessary.
Under this backdrop, the Kenyan Government now wants to pretend they can be trusted again – HAKUNA MATATA, (no problem). My advisory note to our Somali government is to refrain from trusting Kenya’s government. They are a source of instability in Somalia, fuelling political instability in Jubaland, claiming Somalia’s territory and maritime ocean while also selling/Buying Charcoal from Al-Shabaab, an internationally verified matter by the UN Monitoring Group (report 2019) in Somalia and Eritrea.
Furthermore, Kenya has consistently attacked Hormuud Telecommunication business installations. Hormuud is the biggest Somali employer, the biggest taxpayer, and an essential backbone for the Somali economy. The Kenyan government Airforce has destroyed the lives of many and has caused damage worth over $250 million. This behaviour has displaced 4,000 innocent Somali villagers and pastoral communities who rely heavily on mobile money services. We must reflect on our true Somali instincts and the evidence before the international community and us, we will conclude Kenya is a spoiler pariah state in the internal affairs of Somalia.
It is within this context the Somali government must set its conditions and responses by first protecting its citizens and businesses from harm, khat use and attacks. Let’s not give the green light to Khat trade ever again as this issue is matter of
national and economic security.
Abukar Awale ( Qaaddiid )
The lead anti-Khat campaigner