> 'Kenyan Incursion Undermines
13 December 2011
The continued insurgency in Somalia has partly been blamed on the presence
of foreign forces in the country.
Recently, Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki his force's joining AMISOM. Makerere
University lecturer of International Relations Philip Kasaija, who
participated in the formation of the Djibouti agreement which provided for
the formation of the current Transitional Federal Government, tells Risdel
Kasasira how the two-decade insecurity can be quieted.
1. Do you think the incursion of Kenyan and Ethiopian troops into Somalia
will worsen or help end the conflict?
The Kenyan incursion is undertaken under self -defence under Article 51 of
the UN Charter. The state has inherent right in the event that it's national
defence is threatened which would be a legitimate ground for Kenya to enter
Somalia but there is a requirement under self-defence principle that any
activity undertaken in the pursuit of that, must be reported to the UN
Security Council. I don't know whether Kenya has done that. According to
what I have been reading ever since the incursion began, they have not done
Is it going to complicate the problem? I wouldn't want to speculate because
the idea is that if you can get rid of al Shabaab, then you get a pacified
Somalia. In the past we have incursions and instead of bringing peace, it
worsened the problem. We saw it with Ethiopia. Therefore the re-entry of
Ethiopia into Somalia, I think might not help. One of the requirements of
the Djibouti Peace Agreement (which provides for the formation of
Transitional Federal Government) was the withdrawal of Ethiopian forces.
Where does this incursion leave the agreement and where does it leave the
TFG? These are questions which need answers right now. The incursion doesn't
really portend well in an effort to stabilise the situation. In fact we
might see Somalis coalesce with al Shabaab to say that Somalia has been
invaded by Christians.
2.Ever since Kenya entered Somalia the international and regional attention
seems to have been diverted from AMISOM led by UPDF to Kenya. How can AMISOM
and specifically UPDF position themselves to remain the lead force in this
The relevance of UPDF is in the mandate. The UPDF is executing African Union
mandate and United Nations. Kenya is executing its own mandate under
self-defence which I see, is also difficult to explain. The two are
different. When the AU Intervention was mooted, the argument then was, that
the neighbouring countries which are called the "frontline states" should
not get involved in the conflict.
These are Kenya, Ethiopia and Djibouti. What I can see now is that there is
a complication and it stems from the fact that you have AMISOM operating in
Mogadishu and Kenya operating on it's own but with an intention to defeat al
shabaab. However this should go beyond defeating al shabaab. What happens if
al Shabaab is defeated? What happens if you control Merka, Kismayo, Afgoy
and others? Will the TFG establish itself as a legitimate government of
Somalia? I don't know.
3.Do you see UPDF as a professional force because of what they are doing in
Somalia, South Sudan, DR Congo and Central African Republic rather than
perceptions that have sometimes portrayed it as a personal army to President
I I can't say whether they are a professional force or not. But we have our
forces in CAR, DRC, Somalia and South Sudan. This is a national force. It
has a national outlook pursuing a national interest in form of pursuance of
LRA. In Somalia, it's informed on Pan-Africanism. It's a national army
notwithstanding that some people think it's a personal army.
4.What do you see happening if Kenya becomes part of AMISOM?
That will clarify the problem because Kenya has no mandate to take control
and occupy territory in Somalia. Kenya is pacifying Somalia on behalf of
who? On it's own behalf? Frankly speaking, I don't see how they can justify
occupying Somalia under self-defence. If the UN can make a resolution
authorising Kenya to use force, then it's presence would be legitimate.
5.The Somali transition ends in August next year. Do you see Somalia holding
elections and getting a new government?
Under what circumstances would they hold elections? The elections under the
Djibouti agreement and Kampala Accord are just a postponement of the
problem. Come August next year, there will be a new government and Sheikh
Sharif might not be the president. But before the elections, they need a
census to know who is going to vote in the elections. There is no census
which has been held. Somalia is not a single entity because you have
Somaliland and Puntland. Where do you put these pieces? Are they allowed to
vote for the transitional federal government?
They also have to have a constitution possibly which would be endorsed in
the referendum. Where is the constitution? All these important things that
would have led to a credible process are not there. Therefore you can't have
credible elections without all these.
The transition we are in today might continue after August but possibly with
different faces. Possibly there will be a new president, new speaker, new
MPs and new prime minister. In as long as there is nothing on the ground, it
will be hard to a credible election.
There is need to have inter and intra-clan reconciliation. Secondly, there
is a lot foreign meddling. There is meddling by Ethiopia, Uganda, Burundi,
United Sates and Kenya. So, how will they hold elections? I think the cycle
will continue with new faces.
6.What do you think is the solution to the Somali conflict?
It's simple. We have a tendency of having bottom-up approach. This is the
approach that has been used by the Somaliland and Puntland, that's one
thing. You get a government from down instead of imposing it from Mogadishu.
Secondly, al Shabaab has been the group after Islamic Courts Union which has
been able to galvanise all political entities other than TFG to be on one
side and run Somalia. We need to explore what they are using. Why are they
able to do it? And presumably al Shabaab might not be bad as it is
portrayed. You see al Shabaab are predominantly Hawiye clan but how have
they been able to bring Murusade, Dhulbahante and others together? The TFG
has not been able to do it. The solution lies in Somalis themselves. The
foreigners can help but they will not be there for forever.
7.But Somalis have been fighting each other for the last two decades and
have failed to get the solution and you saying they should be left to fight
until they agree?
If they had left the Islamic Courts Union, we would be having a stable
Somalia. Foreign intervention is the one that has been causing problems. If
it takes supporting al Shabaab to pacify Somali, then let it be.
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Received on Tue Dec 13 2011 - 07:23:18 EST