From: Berhane Habtemariam (Berhane.Habtemariam@gmx.de)
Date: Sat Sep 10 2011 - 16:27:18 EDT
Museveni advises west to pay and develop Somali govt forces
September 10, 2011
President Museveni allegedly questioned the capability of the Kenyan army to
fight the Somali insurgents in Somalia, a leaked US diplomatic cable has
According to the US ambassador to the African Union, Mr Michael Battle,
Museveni questioned Kenya's army bush-fighting credentials and the
ideological commitment of its Somali proxies.
He advised the West to pay and develop Transitional Federal Government (TFG)
fighters rather than the much more expensive and less effective options of
funding international peace keepers and counter-piracy operations, the
Mr Battle's comments, contained in a 2010 diplomatic briefing to Washington,
leaked to whistle blower website, WikiLeaks, were first published on
September 1, 2011.
According to the cable, President Museveni described the Kenyan forces as a
"career army" and wondered about their ability to sustain bush fighters.
"Is Kenya used to fighting like this (bush and guerrilla warfare)?" Mr
The cable said the Ugandan leader was responding to (US assistant Secretary
of State for African Affairs Mr Johnnie) Carson's question about Kenya's
proposed Jubaland Initiative.
President Museveni acknowledged the operational value of seizing Kismayo
and, more broadly, denying al Shabaab's access to sea and airports.
However, "Museveni questioned the capacity of the Kenyans to manage such an
offensive, as well as the ideological commitment of the Somali proxy
forces," read the cable.
Mr Museveni reportedly told top US diplomats in a free-ranging conversation
on the margins of the African Union (AU) Summit in Addis Ababa in January
last year that the Kenyan army and its allies in Somali semi-autonomous
state of Jubaland were not ideologically prepared to fight al Shabaab.
Uganda's minister for International Affairs Henry Okello Oryem, described
the cable as a lie.
"There is no iota of truth in it. Our policy is not to comment on the
affairs of other countries and do not think the president made those
comments," he said.
Efforts to get comments from the Kenyan Government were futile as the High
Commissioner to Uganda was in hospital.
Efforts to get comments from government spokesperson Alfred Mutua, were
futile as he didn't take our calls.
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