29th June 2014
Kenya should not leave Somalia on the grounds demanded by Al-Shabaab, a notorious terror group whose attacks have mounted security fears in the East Africa Region, the Speaker of the East Africa Legislative Assembly has declared.
Speaker Margaret Zziwa told The Guardian on Sunday at mid week in Dar es Salaam that the Kenya Defense Force (KDF) units deployed in Somalia were not representing just Kenyan state interests but are crucial for the betterment of the whole of East Africa.
The EALA speaker said the cardinal reason for the deployment of Kenyan troops in Somalia was to restore peace in the country, clarifying that the initiative was in harmony with the treaty for establishment of the East African Community.
“I want to remind the general public of East Africans that Ugandan UPDF troops as well as Burundian Defence Force units are also in Somalia under the same spirit in which Kenyan troops were deployed in the terror embattled Horn of Africa failed state,” she stated.
“The question of security both internally and across territorial borders is part of a collective responsibility,” the EALA Speaker asserted, noting that under Articles 124 and 125 of the 1999 Treaty issues of security and defense are vested in the member state governments, working together for the purpose.
Whereas Article 124 provides for regional peace and security that of the partner states agree that peace and security are prerequisites to social and economic development and vital to the achievement of objectives of the Community.
“In this regard, the partner states agree to foster and maintain an atmosphere that is conducive to peace and security through co-operation and consultations on issues pertaining to peace and security of the partner states with a view to prevention, better management and resolution of disputes and conflicts between them among others,” she pointed out.
In the same sprit security organs from the partner states are sharing tasks in undertakings to promote and maintain good neighbourliness as a basis for promoting peace and security in the region, she said.
Peace keeping and peace enforcement, along with disaster management mechanisms lead to requirements of harmonising training operations, technical co-operation and mutual support in areas such as common mechanisms for the management of refugees.
Other areas are cross-border crime, provision of mutual assistance in criminal matters and the exchange of information on national mechanisms for combating criminal activities, the Speaker noted.
To this end the partner states undertake to enhance the exchange of criminal intelligence and other security information between the partner states’ central criminal intelligence information centres and conducting joint operations, the treaty provides.
Other matters include patrols to promote border security, establish common communication facilities for border security under United Nations model law on mutual assistance on criminal matters, she pointed out.
Security in the EAC states is part of its wider determination to strengthen economic, social, cultural, political, technological and other ties for rapid, balanced and sustainable development.
Border security was vital for realizing the target of an integral customs union area, a common market, monetary union and political federation.
Recently Kenyan Deputy President William Ruto insisted that Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) units will not leave Somalia until peace is restored in the Horn of Africa nation.
Responding to calls for withdrawal of Kenyan troops due to rampant terror attacks, Ruto said: “We shall stay engaged under AMISOM to create a peaceful and stable condition for Somali people.
.He said the tripartite agreement between the Somalia government, the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) and the Kenya government on voluntary repatriation will be signed in two weeks.
“This agreement has been long overdue and in the next two weeks we should sign it in Mogadishu or in Nairobi,” he said.
Nairobi media reports affirmed that since Kenya intervened in Somalia in October 2011, insecurity has gone out of control, with attacks becoming commonplace in Nairobi, the coastline, and parts of the north eastern border zone with Somalia.
They fall into sophisticated attacks like the Westgate infamy and lately Mpeketoni bombing which cost many lives, and amateurish low-grade and low casualty like border attacks meant to gather arms from isolated police posts.