Kenya: Neighbours Joined at the Hip


In a recent interview with a local television station, Somalia's President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo, almost described Kenya as an enemy state.

Where does that place Somalis who are now part and parcel of the Kenyan population? Is he cognizant of the fact that his brothers and sisters who live across the border will, whether intentionally or unintentionally, be included in that category?

The same applies to when Mogadishu speaks of severing diplomatic ties with Nairobi -- which also means cutting off the Somali population in Kenya, who share a long border with Somalia.

The move by Mogadishu to stop miraa (khat) trade with Kenya also hurts the Somali traders in the country much the same way as it hurts the Ameru and the Kenyan government as they are involved in all the phases of the trade -- harvesting, transportation and sale.

The actions of the Somali Federal Government would have been a lot more different if it had first considered the Somalis in Kenya. But Nairobi is even worse when it comes to ignoring its own Somalis when making major decisions on Mogadishu.

Friendly countries

Until recently, Kenya has been accused of hosting former Jubaland Security Minister, Abdirashid Janan, against the will of area residents and leaders.

Janan posed a serious security threat to the Somali population in Mandera because his war on Beledhawo always spilt over to the Kenyan border town.

He later betrayed Kenya and deserted his ally, Jubaland regional president Ahmed Madobe, and joined hands with President Farmaajo in Mogadishu.

Both governments should keep hardliners and hatemongering strategists away from developing their foreign policies and engage the citizenry with the interest of the nations and peoples ahead.

Their differences should be resolved with a sober mind and, when that is not possible, they should seek the support of friendly countries and institutions.

But in their strategies, let them put the Somali population -- rightful citizens in Kenya and blood brothers to Somalia -- into the equation.

The writer is a political strategist and communication expert, PhD candidate and former head of BBC Somali Service.

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