Kenya is committing Suicide in Marginalizing Somalis
On 09th April 2015, Kenya shut down all the Somali remittance companies operating in Kenya and they suspended the bank accounts of some Somali individuals by linking them to being terrorists. It was strange action that surprised a lot of people including the national Kenyans who were well connected with the suspended companies and individuals. It brought a lot of question marks about the credibility of the Kenyan intelligence and what their intentions were. As many people started to wonder what next for the Somalis in Kenya and the way forward plan for the Kenyan government towards the Somali people in Kenya, then the Kenyan vice president Mr. Wuto produced a bold and incredible statement which gives the UN refugee agencies three (3) months to relocate the Somali refugees in Kenyan comps namely (DHADHAAB) which is extremely harsh if not impossible.
Therefore, I want to pinpoint the negative impacts that this will cause to the Kenyan population and the rift that it may create between the neighboring Kenya and Somali a nations which are separated by a long controversial border.
Since 1991, when the great Somali nation was spoiled by the external influenced civil war, thousands of people fled to Kenya seeking for better security and survival. The UNHCR relocated the Somali refugees in to comps near the border between Somalia and Kenya. More than 90,000 (Ninety Thousand) refugees occupied the refugee camps (Dhahab and Kakuma) in Kenya, the number consistently increased until it reached 600,000 (Six hundred thousand) people. The Kenyan government is paid handsomely for the rent of the comps by the UNHCR. These refugees are under the care and safety of the UN, they live in a very difficult situation where they cannot get clean and sufficient access of water, food and medical services. Worse than that is they don’t have properties in their home land if by any means they return. There are generations who were born in the refugee camps and never saw their country who are still wondering of what to make with the Kenyan treatment.
Somalis in Kenya are divided in to three (3) categories; those who have fled to the refugee camps and still occupy the comps, those who run away from the insecurity of Somalia and established businesses in Nairobi and other parts of Kenya and they contributed hugely to the development of Kenyan economy and lastly those who reside in the controversial so called North Eastern region of Kenya or the Northern frontier district (NFD).
Therefore, Kenya first pressured the Somali business people by shutting down their businesses and suspending their bank accounts, it was a cruel and premature decision to take and after two days there was the shambolic statement demanding the relocation of the long term refugee camps. Thus, this shows the brutality of the Kenyan government towards the Somalis whether they are refuges or those who contribute to their country development and employ hundreds of Kenyan individuals.
It seems that Kenya regards all Somalis as terrorists which looks foolish thinking and ridiculous perception. According to the Security Council a terrorist is any individual who acts in a horrible way of killing, injuring and murdering innocent people. Terrorists do not belong to a particular ethnic group, nationality, race or religion.
Therefore, Kenya is clearly conflicting the international law by labeling all Somalis as terrorists. It is true that what happened in Westgate, Lamu and more recently in GarisaUniversity was a barbaric and clueless action but the Kenyan government did not do any good themselves by marginalizing the Somalis in Kenya.
Nevertheless, we expect Kenya to start discriminating the third and only somehow safe Somalis in NFD region to complete their collective punishment towards the emotional Somalis.
On the other hand, it seems Kenya is biting its own tail by chasing Somali refugees from their country, returning indiscriminately and cruelly homeless people to their unstable country will bring negative impacts on both Kenyan citizens and Kenyan soil as well; just to look at some preventable and avoidable impacts that will last forever are as follows;
It will strengthen the Islamic militants; it is no secret that a big number of foreign jihadists are fighting alongside Alshabab, so there is scare that some returnees will join the insurgents in form of retaliation and taking revenge from the Kenyan government.
It may reason more attacks on Kenyan Soil; almost all Somalis have been sympathizing Kenyans as they faced ambushes, sudden attacks, indiscriminate killings and shootings from Alshabab. Therefore, after Kenyan harsh treatment to the Somali people, very few Somalis will be kind to Kenyans and thus this will motivate the attackers to boost their attacks and look for kind reactions from the Somali community.
It creates a huge unemployment rate in Kenya; more than 800 (Eight hundred) Kenyan citizens are jobless today after their parent companies are shut down, therefore, this may cause a harm to the Kenyan government and it will blow the economy of Kenya in to a lower point.
It may restore the old border conflict between Somalia and Kenya; Somali people, where ever they are born, share single ethnicity, religion, culture, tradition and most importantly one language. Therefore, many Somali young generations are still wondering who gave Kenya the right to own the Somali cities in NFD or the so called North eastern region of Kenya. Therefore, this may bring forward that issue after Somalis feel marginalized in their own NFD back yard.
In conclusion, Kenya should deal with the Somalis as close friends and colleagues; otherwise their actions will hunt them back. Kenya should take into account the number of poor Somali families they are killing every day with their air shelling and the properties they are destroying in Somalia. Kenya should bear in mind the economic interest they have in their presence in Somalia and the rental cost they get for the refugee camps in Kenya. Kenya should realize that Knife to Knife action only edges things closer to the death but it doesn’t solve problems.
Mohamed Y. Moalim