Kenya must stop its bully politics on Somalia

Opinion
By Faysal Mohamed

For the past few months, Kenya has been acting weirdly after it expelled its neighbor’s ambassador and denied some Somali officials to enter Nairobi, in what appears as diplomatic bullying.

The Kenyan authorities have also closed few Hawala businesses with mass arrests targeting Somali citizens living in Eastleigh suburb which many call as the little Mogadishu.

The Nairobi administration re-ordered commercial flights to be investigated at Wajer airport before their arrival in Nairobi, a move which Kenya aims to heat up a pressure on Somali gov’t.

Earlier this week, Somalia has approved its petroleum law, which ratifies to be explored in the near future. This move had increased Kenya’s temper and began to strike back by taking harsh measures that are harming Somali nationals based in Kenya.

The neighboring countries are now wrangling over a sea dispute at ICJ with both claiming a narrow of 100, 000-sq km of sea shelf believed to be rich in oil deposits and other significant mineral resources.

Somalia now seems to be at the upper hand after ICJ rejected a bid which Kenya was planning to stop the full hearing of the case on 2017. Since Kenya lost the first round of the case it intensified its diplomatic aggression on Somalia by taking suicidal politics which can not only harm Somalia, but the region at large.

Kenya also sent officials to visit the breakaway regional state of Somaliland in an attempt to increase the pressure on Mogadishu to withdraw the maritime case from ICJ.

It’s not working

The bully based politics has no place in international relations and its obvious that even supper power governments have botched this option. Kenya thinks that it has a leverage over the game as Somalia has no strong functioning gov’t since the collapse of Somalia’s former gov’t in 1991.

Those measures will not force Somalia to put its kneels down, but will deteriorate the regional crisis including the fight against Al-shabaab which is not a Somali problem anymore.

If Somalia retaliates, Kenya could lose its position at UN’s backed operations of AMISOM and 4 billion worth investments owned by Somalis in Nairobi.

It’s true that Somalia is politically divided, but it unites when it has an external enemy which is threatening its sovereignty and existence and as history tells Somalis don’t take intimidation.

Kenya must re-establish its foreign relations with Somalia and act as a big brother and seek softer ways it can deal with bigger issues such as the ICJ case. Also Kenya’s foreign cabinet secretary Moica Juma requires to consult with the right people when making politics with Somalia.


Faysal Mohamed is a senior Somali journalist and political analyst based in Istanbul.