Leaders from North Eastern Province on Friday distanced themselves from the activities of the Al Shabab or any other militia groups operating in Somalia. The leaders further said that there were no active Al Qaeda cells in the Province as alleged in a section of the media, emphasizing they would not like to be associated with lawless groups in Somalia or elsewhere in the world.
Speaking at a leaders meeting attended by Prime Minister Raila Odinga in Garissa, the leaders led by cabinet Ministers Mohammed Yusuf Haji and Mohammed Elmi noted that the people of North Eastern Province would not disturb the current peace prevailing in the area by associating themselves with lawless groups from Somalia. They said it was unfortunate that talk of presence of Al Shabab operatives in North Eastern Province was discouraging donors and other international organizations from working in the Province. Prime Minister expressed concern that lack of a central government in Somalia for nearly two decades had led to widespread insecurity in that country that could spill over to Kenya if not well handled.Noting that due to the lawlessness in Somalia, guns and other dangerous weapons from that country were finding their way into Kenya, the Prime Minister asked people from North Eastern Province to cooperate with security agencies in the area in ensuring that all such weapons are mopped up. He said, "an upsurge in piracy and other lawless activities off the Somalia coast has raised insurance costs for ships plying that route". This has consequently raised the cost of goods coming to East Africa, hurting the economies of this region,"
Odinga said the solution to the Somalia crisis lay in constituting a central government acceptable to all the Somali people, adding Kenya was willing to help in the realization of a central authority in Somalia.
On refugees, the Prime Minister noted that the Dadaab refugee camp in the Province was home to 250,000 refugees, adding there was need to expand the camp to accommodate the rising number of refugees fleeing Somalia and other troubled countries in the region. Said Odinga, "The Problems of Somalia are also our problems, we cannot ignore their suffering. We must help those refugees until when peace is realized in their country and they can go back home."
At another function earlier, Odinga announced that the World Bank will fund Garissa electricity project at a cost of shs. 2 billion to permanently address the frequent power outages in the town.
The Prime Minister who is on a two day tour of development projects in Garissa district, said the project to be completed in two years time will connect the town to the national grid. "The project which will be ready by 2011 will connect power to this town from Kindaruna, through Mwingi," he said.
It should be noted that, Prime Minister Odinga was the key to the establishment of the Ministry of Northern Kenya headed by Ibrahim Elmi of ODM. We had no ministry dealing with marginalized pastrol communities before 2007.