Stability in Somalia critical for peace

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By its own admission, the armed group that stormed Westgate Mall, last Saturday, the act was in retaliation for Kenya Defence Forces’ incursion into Somalia. It is clear once more, therefore, that Kenya’s security is tied to that of Somalia.

And this explains Kenyans’ support for the new European Union initiative unveiled in Brussels last week and aimed at stabilizing Somalia after decades of civil wars that have all too often spilled over the border into Kenya.

Last week’s high-level forum dubbed “ A New Deal for Somalia” and co-chaired by the EU and Somalia representatives follows hot on the heels of similar conferences held in Turkey, last year, and in London, Yokohama, Japan, both in May this year and the re-entry of the United Nations into the country in June. EU’s new deal is supported by a $2.4 billion commitment, eight times as much as the $300 million pledged at the London conference.

The size of the EU pledge means that money will not stand in the Somali government’s plan to rebuild its armed forces at an estimated cost of $160 million. Indeed, the government will have plenty of money left over to invest in development projects that will uplift the people’s standards of living. This will, in turn, encourage Somali nationals, many of whom are very hardworking, stay home and build their country instead of emigrating as economic refugees as has been their wont in the past.

It is hoped that the new Somali leaders will give their EU friends every assistance in helping to stamp out high-level corruption that fleeces the country of close to 75 per cent of public revenues. Equally, important, the new government must find the political will to hold inclusive discussions with all their people’s representatives to agree how their natural resources will be shared. This is in recognition of the fact that the clan wars that have brought the country to its current sorry situation were fuelled by inequalities in resource allocations.

Then, Kenya, and other African countries with troops in Somalia, would be only too pleased to leave the horn-of-Africa country.