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Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The Somali Government factor in the secession bid



By Boniface Ongeri and Adow Jubat
November 07, 2010

The Somali government wanted to claim North Eastern as part of its territory. Recently declassified files reveal Somalia even funded the Shifta war. The first sign that
Somalia was eyeing Northern Frontier District (NFD) was in February 1962 when a delegation, led by then Minister of Education Mohammed Ibrahim Egal, went to London.

Here, they kept a close eye on developments at Kenya’s constitutional Conference, especially how it affected the NFD. Together with the Somalia ambassador in London, the delegation also took time to explain to Members of the British Parliament and The Press Somali Government’s wish to reunite ‘Somali territories’.
Government officers inspect firearms recovered in the shifta war
In July 30, 1962, at the end of Jomo Kenyatta’s visit to Somalia, the country’s Prime Minister Abdirashid Sharmake said: “If the commission reports that the majority of the people wish to become a part of independent Kenya we will not object. But if the people of NFD want to join Somalia, the Government would be happy to see them reunited with their Somalia brothers”.

He continued: “ Just like other African countries, we seek to promote constructive and harmonious relations, but our neighbours are our Somali kinsmen whose citizenship has been falsified by indiscriminate boundary arrangementsÉ we occupy the same terrain and pursue the same pastoral economy. We speak the same language and share same creed, culture and traditions. How can we regard our brothers as foreigners? Of course we all have a strong and very natural desire to be united.”

A few days before these remarks, the then President of Somalia Adan Abdulla Osman had said at a reception hosted for Kenyatta: “The principle of self-determination, when used properly to unify and enlarge an existing State with a view towards its absorption in a federal system of Government is neither balkanisation nor fragmentation. It is a major contributing factor to unity and stability, and totally consistent with the concept of being African.”

He went on: “It is a fact that the Somali people have irresistible urge to live with each other, it is no secret that we are compelled by the same spirit to go out and give any kind of assistance to those in need.”

Kenyatta replied: “We, and especially Kanu, feel, and we have put it clearly before the Somali Government that we regard NFD as part of Kenya. We also regard Somalis who live in the NFD and elsewhere in Kenya as our brothers. They are part and parcel of Kenya and we would like them to live in Kenya.”

In August 4, the same year, the Somali PM said that the NFD question is not new. “It dates back to 1943 when the Somali Youth League was formed but was proscribed by the Kenyan government. It is not fear of tyranny that drives the people of NFD towards us but an old and natural desire to reunite. A burning desire which neither time nor adversity has stifled, but their patience is exhausted.” He said.

While addressing a press conference, Somalia Minister for Information, Ali Mohammed Hirave, stressed that the importance of all constituent boundaries is settled before an act of federation is passed in Kenya.

Further, he said: “Our experience with Ethiopia has shown that settlement of boundaries can be one of the most intractable problems between two independent African states.”

The expansion idea was also openly declared by former Somalia President Siad Barre who ‘dreamt of a greater Somalia’ prompting the then Kenyan Defence Minister GG Kariuki to denounce him as a ‘mad man’.

Source: Standard

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