Wednesday, May 08, 2013
President Kenyatta has joined leaders of
many other countries in London at the Somalia Conference 2013 hosted
jointly by British Prime Minister David Cameron and Somali President
Hassan Sheikh Mohamud.
Altogether, about out 50 countries are represented
at the conference aimed at salvaging Somalia from the depths of
lawlessness, collapsed government, civil strife and terrorist influence.
The British Government had to beat a considerable
retreat in inviting the Kenyan President to London after openly
declaring disapproval of his election victory while facing charges at
the International Criminal Court. However, it was obvious that
discussing peace and security in Somalia without Kenya playing a
powerful role would be futile.
Kenya is one of the countries that have sent
troops into Somalia to take the battle to terrorists that have become a
menace to the entire region.
The Kenyan Defence Forces have liberated a large
swathe of southern Somalia, including the strategic port city of
Kismayu, from al-Shabaab terrorists.
They are part of an AU military effort — including
a Ugandan-led continental force now securing the capital Mogadishu, and
Ethiopian forces controlling north-western Somalia — that has freed a
large chunk of Somalia from al-Shabaab and allowed the government to
exercise a degree of authority.
Kenya also played the central role in putting
together the transition administration that ran Somalia before giving
way to the present government.
Kenya’s national security is intertwined with the
situation in Somalia from where terrorists have occasionally launched
deadly forays into the country. Any conference on Somalia is, therefore,
also a conference on peace and security in Kenya.