Monday, April 27, 2009


Kenya on Monday shrugged off threats by the radical Somali Islamic group, Al-Shabaab, that it would launch incursions into North Eastern province. North Eastern Provincial Commissioner Kimeu Maingi is quoted saying the Somali militia and Al-Qaeda had threatened to invade Kenya and introduce Sharia Law. Now the Kenyan Government has dared Al-Shaab militiamen to seize any part of Kenya and face military action.

“Kenya is a sovereign country. We have the capacity and the ability to stave off any incursions,” Foreign Affairs assistant minister Richard Onyonka said on Monday. He was responding to reports that the insurgents were planning to take over North Eastern Province and subject it to the rule of Sharia law. Mr Onyonka said the government would do anything to protect its territory.

North Eastern Provincial Commissioner Kimeu Maingi at the weekend was quoted as saying the Al-Shabaab, a militia group linked to al-Qaeda, had officially communicated to the government, warning “they would stop at nothing, including armed conflict, to invade the province and make it part of their country and rule it using their religious laws”.

Speaking on the sidelines of a Somalia conference in Nairobi exploring the country’s civil service training opportunities, Mr Onyonka said such threats would not deter Kenya from ensuring that the Somali Transitional Federal Government (TFG) is successful in achieving its agenda. Mr Maingi had said the abduction of several Kenyans at the border town of Mandera last month was part of Al-Shabaab’s wider scheme to aggress Kenya.
The Kenya Government has started a training programme for Somalia’s civil servants in efforts to foster development in the war-torn country. Having had no government in place for 18 years, senior civil servants of the Somalia Transitional Federal Government (TFG) jetted into the country to learn public administration, enhancing good relations with neighbouring states and regional co-operation. The week-long training, which is being coordinated by the Foreign Affairs ministry, started Monday at the Kenya Institute of Administration.

Mr. Onyonka while speaking at the opening ceremony of the training programme, said the country was committed to bringing stability and development in Somalia. “Kenya recognises the need to extend technical assistance, inform of training, as part of the broader effort in facilitating national reconstruction and building of the TFG,” he said. Somalia is one of the countries in the world to experience civil unrest for a long time, resulting in the breakdown of various training and learning institutions. “This has impacted negatively on the human-resources base of the country,” Mr Onyonka said. The Kenya Government and the United Nations Development Programme (Somalia office) have teamed up to train all the civil servants.“The officers will learn from the best practices in the country on how they can run their government,” Mr Onyonka added.The first batch is made up of 25 officers and the programme is set to be rolled out in all other departments of the TFG.

The Al-Shabaab "outfit" are said to be Somali extremists, with strong ties to Al Qaeda. They support the imposition of strict Sharia Law throughout Somalia. Mr Onyonka said that the threats from them would not deter Kenya from ensuring that the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) in Somalia is successful in achieving its agenda.

The Foreign Affairs Assistant Minister further called on the militia and the transitional government to consider dialogue as a means of resolving their disputes “We hope the group will resolve conflict diplomatically; going to war will not help anyone,” he advised.“The TFG is the only way out and we (the international community) will not accept any other way. It is in the best interest to ensure peace and security of the Somalia,” said Mr Onyonka.

Mr. Onyonka has not expressed similar rhetoric on issues regarding Migingo.... an Island the Ugandan government has already annexed as part of it's country.

According to the director of the Foreign Services institute Prof Phillip Mwanzia these officers will be trained on methods of public administration, diplomacy and other sectors relevant to their government. “At the end, the officers will develop sharp negotiation skills, project management, monitoring and evaluation,” he said.