The Kenyan military will not leave Somalia unless the African Union or the Somali government asks for their withdrawal, the heads of the parliamentary National Security and Defence and Foreign Affairs committees have said.
National Security chairman Asman Kamama and his Defence counterpart Ndungu Gethenji also asked Cord leaders Raila Odinga, Moses Wetang’ula and Kalonzo Musyoka not to politicise the concerns over the presence of Kenyan troops in Somalia.
The Cord principals have asked the government to account for the number of soldiers and officers killed in Somalia since the start of Operation Linda Nchi in October 2011.
They have also demanded the withdrawal of the troops from Somalia on the basis that their mission there ended, there have been allegations that they sell charcoal and terrorism in Kenya has not abated.
But Mr Kamama and Mr Gethenji, joined by John Nakara (Turkana Central, URP) said the Cord leaders were party to the deployment when they were in the last government and therefore shouldn’t complain.
“Why now are they pointing fingers and making unpatriotic statements? Why are they speaking like the political wing of the Al-Shabaab? Only Al-Shabaab are talking about withdrawal, the ordinary Somali people and the government have not,” said Mr Gethenji.
He said that because the Kenyan forces “rehatted” and are now serving under the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), they can only withdraw if asked to do so by the African Union.
Parliament also approved the rehatting.
Mr Kamama said the statements by the Cord leaders were “hypocritical and unpatriotic.”
Mr Nakara also criticised those calling for the removal of top security officials because of the continued insecurity.
He said that without a change in strategy, equipment and investment, changing the leadership of the security agencies wouldn’t help.
The Turkana Central legislator said the politicisation of security and defence matters wouldn’t help improve matters.