Sunday, May 20, 2012

Kenya's invasion of Somalia; the making of a new Afghanistan.

I was among the few Kenyans who openly opposed Kenya's military invasion in Somalia. I have repeatedly said you cannot fight with an enemy you can't see! Al shabab is an enemy that is everywhere and not necessarily in Somalia. Invading Somalia will have deer consequences on Kenya- including lose of lives due to frequent attacks, decline in tourism and reduction in foreign investment.  all this will fuel further the grave situation of poverty and unemployment.

There is no clear indication of the number of Al Shabab fighters killed. This is largely due to the fact that Al Shabab is a militia, they not necessarily wear uniforms or live a distinct lifestyle. How do you differentiate Al Shabab from any other innocent Somali citizen?

There has been no clear outcome of the invasion so far:
  • First, the invasion was largely driven by the kidnappings of foreign tourists. So many Kenyans had died at the hands of Al Shabab linked attacks in northern Kenya but little or no action was being taken. Kenya Defense Forces primary objective of taking Afmadow and Kismayu has fallen by the wayside after several months of invasion.
  • The number of Al Shabab fighters killed is so small compared to the overall cost of the invasion and the many lives that have been lost in Kenya. There have been numerous grenade attacks by Al Shabab linked groups in Kenya since invasion that has killed and wounded hundreds of innocent people. Several soldiers have also died from this war.
  • Kenya was spending nearly Kshs. 200 Million monthly on the war despite having a budget deficit of over Kshs. 236 billion.  The cost has since fallen after Kenya officially joined AMISOM but Kenya's tax payers are still footing part of the cost of the invasion.

  • The number of refugees from Somalia has grown significantly over the last couple of months.
  • The war has resulted in Kenya being less secure as more and more extremest sympathizers emerge.  We are making Somalia to be the next Afghanistan! Extremism is driven by ideology and hence the more Kenya is seen to be attacking that ideology the more it increases the risk of being attacked. 

I therefore think Kenya should have learned from America's invasion in Afghanistan and approached the issue in a sober way that will solve the core issues.

Having a stable government in Somalia that is created and backed by the Somali people themselves is one of the main key things to bring stability.

Kenya should also focus more on securing its borders from within, and increasing its intelligence network so as to prevent internal attacks. Most of the attacks witnessed in Kenya over the last several months have been conducted by Kenyan citizens.


1 comment:

  1. I'm also opposed to Kenya's intervention in Somalia. It's an incursion Kenya can ill afford economically or politically. I don't have the exact figures for Kenya's monthly expenditure in Somalia, but the money could be put to better use in a country with so many pressing problems as Kenya. The money could for example be used to provide more villages with some of your solar lamps, a brilliant invention that has helped Kenyans build a better future for themselves.
    The Kenyan goverment should be encouraging the Somali interim goverment in mogadishu to engage with Al shabab to find a political solution. Somalia will only be stabilized if all the warring clans arrive at a compromise.
    I don't agree with your point about Kenya making somalia the next Afghanistan. The Taliban stabilized Afghanistan after decades of civil war. But they had also given refuge to Bin Ladens foreign AL-queda extremists. And once they refused to hand him over after the 9/11 attacks, the Americans had no choice but to invade. The greatest mistake they made was then invade Iraq and take their eyes off the ball in Afghanistan where the taliban is now resurgent.
    Similarities however do exist, there can be no comprehensive peace in Afghanistan without the inclusion of the Taliban, just like they can be no comprehensive peace in Somalia without the inclusion of Al Shabab. It all comes down to tribal politics and as we Kenyans know all to well after the post election violence perpetrated by ODM and PNU the only way for lasting peace is compromise on all sides.