Let peace prevail in border dispute
Relations between Kenya and Somalia have hit a new low following the ruling by the International Court of Justice, delimiting what was initially a territory in the Indian Ocean occupied by Kenya and giving it to Somalia.
As expected, President Uhuru Kenyatta has said the government rejects the court’s findings in totality.
In Mogadishu, President Mohamed Abdulahi Farmaajo is unrelenting that the territory belongs to his country and that Kenya should cede the waters forthwith.
Kenya and Somalia have shared a long relationship, and like many things in life, they have had good and bad times too.
What has dictated the kind of relationship and made the difference is leadership.
The courts explained the history of the disputed boundary dating back to June 25, 1925.
Efforts to define the boundary have been many but they have never bore fruit.
For this reason, the court chose to define the boundary between the two countries.
Unfortunately Kenya had already withdrawn its recognition of the court and as a result the ruling may not be binding.
That notwithstanding, the standoff calls for wisdom. President Kenyatta has extended a negotiation branch calling on the African Union and its structures to lead the talks.
He has also called on the international community to create an enabling environment for a negotiated outcome.
Apart from the border, Kenya and Somalia share culture, trade and investments, security concerns and families, among many other things. Nothing thrives in conflict.
The two neighbours need each other and it is only through a peaceful process and environment that both can realise their mutual interests.
As Farmaajo says Somalia did not choose Kenya as her neighbour but it was God’s work. Good neighbourliness should, be the pursuit of both nations.
When Somalia was burning, Kenya offered her people refuge; when she was under attack by militia and terror groups, Kenya provided its sons and daughters, unconditionally, to stand with her.
Great sacrifices have been made by both countries to ruin the good relations that came from standing together.
We call on the leadership of the two countries, that of other neighbouring states and the African Union to move with speed and find a peaceful deal that both countries will benefit from.
War drums should not be beaten. The cost of conflict in both countries is too high to contemplate. It can be avoided and it should be avoided.