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Is Kenya Government failing its Somali People?

By   /  May 13, 2014  /  1 Comment

The recently televised history about barring Somali individuals from boarding public transport to Nairobi Town by the public, growing negative public perception that Kenyan Somalis or entire Somalis are terrorists or aliens to Kenya and ongoing hate speeches in the social media begs question on whether jubilee government has failed its own Somali people.

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To begin with, no one dispute that the terror attacks have increased in Kenya and claimed many innocent lives on a daily basis since 2011 when Kenya troops crossed into Somalia to fighter al-Qaida affiliated groups in that lawless country. In Particular last four months have witnessed more than ten terror attacks in Nairobi, Mombasa and in north-eastern Kenya. In fact, terrorism affects all Kenyan whenever they are in the country but one reality that must be told is that the terror attacks had targeted Somalia populated area in Nairobi, Garrisa, Wajir and Mandera than Eldoret, Machkos, Nakuru or Bomet. This is a clear indication that the terrorism in Kenya has become a real danger that affects Kenyan of origin Somali than other Kenyans who lives in the central or far west of Kenya.

Despite this realities, The jubilee government’s reaction to this threat particularly during Operation Usalama (Peace) Watch which was intended to, as claimed by the Kenyan authorities, eliminate illegal immigrants, terrorists and criminals, was, as described by many critics, inhumane, erroneous and ugly operation against the Somali community which, to some extent, reflects the Usalma Watch operation as anti-somali operation who themselves are daily victims of terrorism.

During the Usalam Watch operation, Kenyan forces have detained many peoples majority of whom were of Somali origin in Kasarani “concentration” camp. The main misconducts by the security agencies include among others looting, inhumane treatment, displacements, torture, abduction, arbitrary arrests, death threat and harassment. From legal perspective, this is a gross violation of Chapter Four of the Constitution of Kenya which envisaged fundamental rights and liberty. It is also clear disrespect for international and regional human rights law and standards, which Kenya is signatory and obligated to observe. The main perpetrators of these instruments are the Kenya Police, the Kenya Army, and the Administration Police. Even Traffic Police who are supposed to oversee behaviors of drivers and road accidents have been involved in this illegal activity.

Many scholars and writers have condemned and criticized this operation and called for national debate on Kenyan Somali status in the Country. They described the officials’ response to the terror attacks as “racial and xenophobic” approaches. I particularly applaud my learned friend Senior Counsel Ahmednasir Abdullahi for his Article published by the Nation Newspaper on 4th April 2014 entitled “Kenyan Somalis are treated like second-class citizens” who appealed to the “President Uhuru Kenyatta to call for a national convention to determine once and for all the fate of Kenyan Somalis in Kenya”.

In my view, this is the right time to call for such a debates, for the reason that the human rights violations in the context of security operations have been repeatedly committed, over five decade, in North Eastern Province and Upper Easter Region –Moyale,Marsabet and Isiolo. The human rights violations in these regions have been covered in reports by National and international human rights organizations, including Kenya National Human Rights Commission (KNHRC). The Forgotten People and Foreigners at Home are example of such reports.

The Truth Justice and Reconciliation Commission (TJRC), which was created by the Kenyan Parliament through the Truth Justice and Reconciliation (TJR) Act of 2008, had produced similar report in the year 2011. To illustrate, the TJRC was mandated to look into alleged human right violation by the government organs from Kenya’s independence in 1963 to 2008. The Commission has documented and investigated human rights violations by law enforcement agencies and submitted its report to the Parliament. In its report the Commission indicated that “The Kenya Police and Military forces have been at the center of the country’s history of violations of human rights. Both have either committed the violations themselves, or have failed to protect Kenyan citizens. These violations of human rights include massacres, unlawful killings, enforced disappearances, torture and ill-treatment, as well as rape and sexual violence”. It further recorded that, in North Eastern and Upper Eastern region, “The Military force is responsible for large-scale confiscation and killings of cattle, especially by poisoning of water sources, which killed both cattle and civilians. According to TJRC’s report, “The government covered up the violations committed by the Police and Military forces, as well as the civilian administration. It passed the Indemnity Act to protect all government officials from prosecution, for violations committed” in North Eastern and upper Eastern Region. As described in that report the Indemnity Act is still a law in Kenya.

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About the author


Adam Kulow has completed LLM in International Law at University of Johannesburg, South Africa. He obtained his first degree (LLB) at the International University of Africa, Sudan. He worked with different companies and organisations in the law field.

1 Comment

  1. Thanks bro Adan for your explosive article.

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