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Since his rise to power in October 2019, Tunisian President Kais Saied has anchored his legitimacy in a prodigious crusade he claims to be waging against endemic corruption. Certainly widespread graft has for decades been a destabilizing force in Tunisia and a hindrance to its democratic consolidation. Tunisians have long perceived corruption as the third main problem in their country after unemployment and economic mismanagement, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

Three years later, however, Saied’s words have been little more than a tool to legitimize the measures he has put in place since July 25, 2021, to monopolize power, including sacking the prime minister, dissolving Parliament, and staging a referendum this past July to further erode checks and balances.

Not only is Saied grinding down the sole democracy to emerge from the Arab Spring movements, he is also failing to fulfill the core promise on which he built his entire political platform. Corruption cannot be fought while a head of state operates unilaterally and undermines the independence of his country’s institutions. The hopes that led so many Tunisians to initially cheer for Saied’s power grab last year and supported the passage of his referendum a year later are built on a chimera.

Saied’s populist slogans have not translated into any concrete actions to eradicate systemic corruption. A study published in October estimated that corruption is costing Tunisia 4 percent of its GDP, which would be $1.54 billion of its projected $38.5 billion GDP for 2022. Goods, including fuel and food items, are also smuggled into and out of the country, incurring some $4.2 billion in contraband profits transferred between Tunisia and neighboring Algeria and Libya alone. Oligopolies control the Tunisian market, and daily corruption is widespread, even as citizens struggle to make a living.

Fighting the Corruption Fighters 

Instead of targeting the corrupt, Saied has been busy settling scores against individuals and entities opposing his dictatorial actions. Several opponents were subject to political trials in military court in recent months, even as the government fails to wage any serious campaign against the notoriously corrupt. (I, too, have been targeted: individuals whom my watchdog organization, Raqabah Observatory, has accused of corruption with what we believe is irrefutable evidence have filed 13 complaints against me as president of the group, including four convictions in absentia in the past 1 ½ months.)

Saied also is targeting the country’s independent regulatory bodies. In August 2021, he closed the headquarters of the National Anti-Corruption Body and referred its files to the Ministry of Interior. As a consequence, the system for declaring earnings and following up on cases of conflict of interest among senior state employees was suspended. In September 2021, he dissolved the Provisional Body for Monitoring the Constitutionality of Laws. He also has disrupted hundreds of open investigations, as well as procedures to protect whistleblowers, many of whom have thus become victims of reprisal. In March of this year, he issued a decree on “penal reconciliation,” which allows business owners to escape prosecution or conviction by payment of fines or the creation of national, regional, or local development projects.

Press freedom has shrunk, too, during the past year, and a new decree issued in September opens the door for serious crackdowns on journalists, bloggers, dissidents, and civil society activists, under the pretext of fighting disinformation and fake news.

Eroding Checks and Balances

Rooting out corruption requires rule of law, separation of powers, a free press, and protection of independent bodies tasked with monitoring public structures and exposing and reporting abuses. It is true that these conditions had not all been in place prior to Saied’s self-coup last year, but his draconian measures such as eroding checks and balances and discouraging whistleblowers are providing even more fertile ground for corruption, especially given Tunisia’s massive economic crisis. Food products are being rationed and store shelves are empty of staple goods as prices soar, exacerbated by grain shortages inflicted by Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February. The fuel shortage also is worsening. The Tunisian government recently reached a preliminary agreement with the International Monetary Fund on a $1.9 billion loan.

At Raqabah Observatory, we have noticed a serious drop in the rate of response to public information requests we have directed to public bodies, falling from 93 percent response between July 25, 2020 and July 25, 2021, to only 59 percent in the same period from 2021 to 2022. We also have seen many judicial investigations into financial corruption disrupted amid Saied’s feud with judges, as he randomly sacked 57 of them in a June 1 purge of the judiciary, accusing them of corruption, adultery, and protecting terrorists.

Even before Saied’s election in 2019, Tunisia’s democracy had not achieved the desired development or social justice, mainly because of bureaucracy, corruption, and the failure of the government to carry out its central role of providing services to citizens. Over more than a decade, Tunisia has moved from a corrupt dictatorship under former President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali prior to the revolution of 2011, then to a corrupt democracy, and now to a corrupt autocracy. The system has changed, but its essence, its deep state, and its rentier economic and financial elite have not.

Tunisia’s civil society forces must continue to stand up strongly for a restoration of democracy. It is particularly important for them to unite in the fight against this growing authoritarian turn of the new regime. There is no other way to address the corruption that is paralyzing the economy and bulldozing citizens’ livelihoods. The hollow one-man show that Saied has made out of the country will deepen the corruption crisis and sink its economy further.  by , Just Security

  • Migori police Commander Mark Wanjala said the suspect, who was dressed in church attire, was arrested after members of the public gave a tip tip-off to the police. 

A priest who allegedly defiled and killed a girl aged 10 years in Kamuombo village, Rangwe sub-county in Homa Bay two weeks ago has been arrested.

The priest was arrested at his hideout in Suna East, Migori County.

Migori police Commander Mark Wanjala said the suspect, who was dressed in church attire, was arrested after members of the public gave a tip tip-off to the police.

Wanjala said the suspect has been on the run for two weeks and went to a church in the region to seek refuge.

He said the suspect has been handed over to criminal investigation officers from Homa Bay, who are now handling the case.

Police have indicated that the priest defiled and killed the girl in a maize plantation in the region. It is reported that he came to the area to offer payers to a family in the region.  By Hillary Okeyo, Citizen

 

Hand washing. Hygiene. Cholera. Tap water.
 
 

In the mid of the UN COP27 summit in Egypt, the city of Dar es Salaam and other parts of Tanzania face severe water shortages that were brought on by drought.

At the UN COP27 heads of state, ministers and negotiators, along with climate activists, mayors, civil society representatives and CEOs convened in the Egyptian coastal city of Sharm el-Sheikh seeking solidarity to respond to the climate change emergency.

Tanzania is renowned to have abundant resources of freshwater from all angles, including river basins, lakes and natural wetlands. From the geographical point of view, Tanzania is part to at least 11 transboundary water resources in the form of lakes and rivers (NWSDS, 2008).

The main sources of water in Tanzania's mainland are rainwater, surface (rivers, streams, impoundments, springs, lakes, and dams), and groundwater. Tanzania has been gifted with using fresh surface water and groundwater for centuries but seems now the supply is not enough. 

Key sectors fuelling demand for surface and groundwater include domestic consumption, agriculture, livestock, energy generation, industrial production and mining to list a few.

Currently, freshwater supply services have been mainly dominated by the government under the ministry of water and its institutions. The ministry manages to supply 226 billion cubic meters of water where 121 billion cubic meters are underground and 105 are surface water (Ministry of Water). T

he main investment made by the government in water sectors was tapping surface and underground water, treating and supplying to the households while agriculture irrigation, industries mining, and other sectors tap water from the same sources.

Furthermore, livestock, wild animals, fishing, and other living organisms depend on water from the same sources as well. Fast population growth, climate change impacts and expansion of human economic activities put the country under water supply distress. 

The water shortage that we major cities are facing currently is derived from a combination of factors including escalated demand of water due to rapid urbanization and climate change impacts.

Fresh water is a renewable resource but there is ongoing depletion of fresh water globally. The population of Tanzania has been fast growing since independence in 1961 when the population was around 10 million.

Data from the Population and Housing Census of 2022 indicate that there are about 61.7 million people. This indicates an increase in demand for freshwater for domestic use as well as for expanding economic activities such as agriculture, mining, livestock keeping, manufacturing, and so forth.

Nevertheless, sources of water supply have been the same for decades, leaving ever-growing dependence. 

Therefore the existing rapid growth of demand unmatched the constant supply of fresh water and this puts pressure on water provision services all over the country. But at the same time on-going climate changes and their impacts such as long drought periods keep worsening the water supply shortage hitherto..

The economic theory of scarcity indicates that resources are always scarce while demand is infinite. With production reaching its maximum limitations, the only way you can increase supply to meet the increasing demand is either through advancement in technology or innovation of new resources.

With on-going water crises, waiting for rainfall to curb water shortage is not a sustainable solution.

Currently, there is a scramble for water between human beings, domestic animals, wild animals, fish, and other living organisms. Since a human being has the intelligence to think beyond the box and innovate solutions, then animals, plants and other organisms depend on us to find a sustainable solution for water supply to sustain the whole ecosystem.

This among others, calls for the need for engaging innovative technologies in curbing water shortage across the country.

Effects of water shortage

Because of the shortage of water, the prices for water for domestic use from business people who supply underground water have sharply increased. Since water is a basic need, people have no choice, but rather decrease their spending on other commodities and purchase water. This suppresses demand from other sectors and therefore affects the economy at large.

Sanitation and public health crisis 

The ongoing freshwater shortage harms sanitation and may results to public health crisis such as diarrhoea, cholera, dysentery which can cost people lives.

The irrigation schemes in the agriculture sector in Tanzania hugely depend on the same water used for domestic consumption ie surface and underground water. With this shortage production in the agriculture sector will be affected and overall prices of food will escalate.

Livestock keeping and freshwater fishing sectors also are affected as they highly depend on the presence of surface and underground water. Wild animals also depend on the same sources of water and with the ongoing drought, we will see death and shifting of animals from our parks to a community searching for water. Also, there is a danger of extinction of some species of freshwater fish which are the source of food and income for fishermen.

Trade performance will also be affected in Tanzania because Tanzania's exports are mainly agricultural goods. The shortage of water will affect both irrigation schemes and while a drought affects rainfall-fed farming and therefore overall production and export will drop.

Recommended solutions

In investment in modern technology in freshwater production, while tackling climate change impacts, there is a need to address insufficient of water supply services by using heavy investment in modern water technology to produce fresh water and leaving the dependence on nature behind.

Water technology will allow us to take advantage of the production of freshwater such as recycling wastewater, and desalinated water to cover the ongoing shortage of fresh water. This will increase the freshwater supply, meet the demand and stabilize the market for freshwater supply.

There is a need for reforms in the water sector to increase the involvement of private sectors both with large and small enterprises to attract more investment in freshwater production.

One of the agendas discussed at the COP 27 summit is the promotion of climate technology solutions to the climate crisis. The Technology Executive Committee (TEC) and Climate Technology Centre and Network (CTCN) - the two bodies of the Technology Mechanism under the UNFCCC and Paris Agreement - launched their joint work programme to accelerate the deployment of transformative climate technologies that are urgently required to tackle climate change.

Attracting innovation and investment in modern freshwater production technology will increase domestic water supply as well as supply to other sectors such as agriculture, energy, fish farming, industrial, mining, and other sectors that depend on water supply. Sufficient financing and Public-Private Partnership (PPP) on modern technology in freshwater production is the key when there is an assurance of the market for water service supply.

In the PPPs, the government can focus on supplying fresh water in rural areas, and for marginalized populations both in urban and rural areas while private enterprises can focus on the remaining market segments including recycled water for the industrial and irrigation schemes.

Countermeasures to be put into practice to align the technology in the water production process include waste water recycling interventions. Innovation in wastewater recycling technology for domestic uses like toilet flushing, gardening even clean water for cooking and drinking is an opportunity for SMEs and start-ups to take advantage of it.  

This will allow human being to reduce pressure on traditional surface freshwater sources and allows livestock, fishes, and other living organisms that typically depend on nature to take advantage of these sources.

Climate change mitigation

To address extreme weather events like drought which brought water shortage is imperative to ensure future life. This includes the planting of trees, reducing carbon emissions, reducing pollution in water sources, and so forth.

Tackling climate change alone cannot be enough due to the fast population growth that we have. Community engagement, sound policies, and water financing are critical to ensure that we are moving toward a green economy.

Engaging the future generation; our education system can be another angle of focus for sustainable freshwater production and environmental conservation. Our curriculum should allow our kids to understand the crises the earth is facing now, and give them opportunities of understanding, innovate, and engage in the green economy.

To conclude, human beings have been depending so much on nature when it comes to freshwater supply and with current conditions of rapid population growth and climate change impacts, our traditional freshwater sources cannot sustain us all.

There is a need to invest in modern technology for the production of freshwater to curb water shortage and leave natural sources to other organisms to support the ecosystem. Modern freshwater production technology requires investments, innovations, and embracing PPPs widely to enable it to meet the ever-growing demand for freshwater.

The writer is a trade economist and researcher, a lecturer at the Centre for Foreign Relations and can be reached through This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.   By Janeth Malleo, Daily News

Gettyimages

Anthony Idowu Ajayi, African Population and Health Research Center

The African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of Children recently made what experts call a landmark ruling. The committee is a regional quasi-judicial organ of the African Union. Its task is to monitor and implement the African Charter on Child’s Rights and Welfare, interpret the provisions of the charter and promote and protect children’s rights in Africa. The group of experts denounced the Tanzanian government’s policy of expelling pregnant and married girls from school. Tanzania has a history of using the country’s controversial 1961 law to deny adolescent mothers access to education. The late president John Magufuli openly referred to adolescent pregnancy as “immoral behaviour” that would not be allowed “to permeate primary and secondary schools”.

Reproductive health researcher Anthony Ajayi is optimistic that the recent ruling will compel more African countries to keep pregnant adolescents in school. He unpacks the details of the complaint and what Tanzania has been ordered to do.


What was the complaint against Tanzania?

In 2019, the Legal and Human Rights Centre (an NGO based in Dar es Salaam) and the Centre for Reproductive Rights (a global advocacy organisation) filed a complaint against the Tanzanian government. The two organisations are representing Tanzanian girls.

They accused the government of subjecting primary and secondary school girls to compulsory pregnancy tests and expelling them from school if they are found to be pregnant. The complainants alleged that school administrators were interpreting pregnancy as a moral offence punishable by expulsion. Under the expulsion policy, pregnant girls are subjected to unlawful detention or harassment until they expose the identity of the person who impregnated them.

Moreover, the government’s expulsion of pregnant and married girls is considered permanent. The affected girls are only allowed to be readmitted to private or vocational training schools and not their previous public schools.

Another key complaint was that the government deprived pregnant girls of access to sexual reproductive health information and services.

What are the decisions?

The decision obligates the Tanzanian government to immediately prohibit mandatory pregnancy testing – in schools and in health facilities. The government also has to remove wedlock as a ground for expulsion, readmit school girls affected by the ban, and provide special support to compensate for the lost years.

The country is also mandated to investigate cases of detention of pregnant girls, release those detained and stop the arrest of pregnant girls. Girls who dropped out of school due to pregnancy or wedlock must be readmitted without preconditions.

Moreover, the Tanzanian government is required to provide sexuality education for adolescent children as well as child-friendly sexual reproductive and health services. It must sensitise teachers, school administrators, healthcare providers, police, and other actors about the protection that should be accorded to pregnant and married girls.

How will this affect the lives of young women and girls in Tanzania?

Adolescent childbearing in Tanzania has been on an upward trajectory. In 2010 an estimated 22.8% of teenagers aged 15-19 had a child or were pregnant. By 2016, the estimate had risen 26.8%.

However, the number of girls dropping out of school due to pregnancy has declined from 9,800 girls in 2009 to 6,500 in 2021.

Education is important for girls’ future earning power and the promotion of their lifelong health and socioeconomic well-being. Implementing the committee’s decision would help break the persistent poverty cycle associated with early childbearing and missing out on education.

This decision will also open doors for more contributions from development partners keen on promoting girls’ education and working to achieve gender equality.

The decision directly mandates Tanzania to comply. But all 49 countries that have ratified the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child are subject to this interpretation.

With this decision, civil society organisations now have an additional yardstick to measure their government’s compliance with the African Charter on Child’s Rights and Welfare.

What has been the impact of other decisions by the African committee of experts on the rights and welfare of the child in other countries?

Since 2005, the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of Children has received 22 complaints.

Of the complaints filed, the monitoring body has to date:

  • finalised seven

  • settled two of them amicably with relevant government organs and their complainants

  • declared five inadmissible due to the complainants’ failure to exhaust in-country remedies

  • dismissed complaints that fail to meet the conditions laid down in the Charter and the committee’s Guidelines on Consideration of Communications or that fall outside of the mandate of the commission.

Though the committee lacks enforcement powers, we believe this decision about Tanzania is significant.

The transition of power to Samia Suluhu Hassan, the country’s first female president, offers renewed hope for girls’ education. The education minister, Joyce Ndalichako, and the permanent secretary at the ministry of education have stated that the policy will be changed.

This ruling however goes beyond changing the Tanzanian policy. It calls on countries to address existing gaps in their laws, policies and programmes, to be fully compliant with the charter. Merely stating that a school reentry policy is in place will no longer be sufficient.

Tanzania’s current administration has already expressed goodwill by offering to change the policy. This goodwill can be harnessed to ensure that the decisions are fully implemented.

Juliet Kimotho, Senior Advocacy Officer at the African Population and Health Research Center, contributed to this article.The Conversation

Anthony Idowu Ajayi, Associate research scientist, African Population and Health Research Center

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Defence Cabinet Secretary Aden Duale. Dennis Onsongo | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • In a wide-ranging interview with ‘The Weekly Review’, Defence CS Duale shares his vision on strengthening KDF, the war on Al-Shabaab in Somalia, and the militarisation of the state by the Uhuru administration 

Remember the construction of a 700-kilometre concrete wall along the Kenya-Somalia border aimed at restoring peace in the region and keeping at bay the Al-Shabaab militia group? 

Now the new Defence Cabinet Secretary, Aden Bare Duale, describes the move as archaic and plots to roll out a modern, sophisticated and comprehensive security system.

The notion of the wall was mooted following a series of bloody attacks in Kenya by the Somalia-based militia group, including the deadly attack on Garissa University on April 2, 2015 that claimed 148 lives.

Complete with security cameras, a heavy mesh and razor wires running, the wall was aimed at limiting the movement of armed militants across the porous border. 

In an interview with The Weekly Review, Duale also addresses the long-standing Kenya-Uganda dispute of Migingo Island, described rather hilariously by Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni as “a senseless battle over some rocky grounds in Lake Victoria”.

In the interview, Duale also responds to the delicate issues of Kenya Defence Force’s (KDF’s) latest deployment to eastern Congo, the mission in Somalia, and the tasks ahead at the Defence Headquarters.

Below are excerpts...

Let us start with your appointment. Why do you think the President picked you for the Defence slot? Do you have any background or understanding in this area?

I have no idea why he picked on me as only he can talk about my suitability. However, I will take the heavy responsibility bestowed on me by the President to perform my duty with the diligence and satisfaction that is required.

And except for having an early brush with the military fraternity at high school, that is Moi Forces Academy, where I did my Form Five and Six, and being a son in-law of an army general, I have no military background.

Nonetheless, I am very much at home with the military fraternity and I will try to make a difference during my tenure as Defence CS.

Kenyan Somalis as well as those in Somalia, Ethiopia and in other parts of the Horn of Africa regard you as an influential political leader in the region. How will you balance their expectations with those of your countrymen and women?

It is true that I am a prominent leader among the Somali and Muslim communities in Kenya and the Horn of Africa.

This notwithstanding, I am first a Kenyan, and Somali next. I have been a legislator for three terms and had just won my forth term and having been the first and longest-serving Leader of Majority in the National Assembly, I now want to make a mark and impact in government.

I need to add value to my government.

And do you think you will be conflicted with clan politics?

This is a rather irritating, if not unfair, question that keeps being directed at me. I am not the first Kenyan from a community that transcends our borders to be appointed to the Defence docket.

Or are we suggesting that the Maasai, Luo, Bukusu, Kuria, among others, should never hold this portfolio? In any case, I am not the first Somali to hold the Defence or security docket.

Others before me like the Senator Yusuf Haji, did their bit and I don’t think they underperformed or compromised our country’s security. 

As you settle down into office, there have been concerns among Kenyans over the “militarisation of government services”. Should we expect an extension of the same by this government?

It was wrong for the former President (Uhuru Kenyatta) to have given military personnel civilian authority, and the question of efficiency by KDF as the excuse for doing so should not arise here. Whether or not my officers can do a better job, that role must be played by the right institutions and personnel as envisaged by the Constitution.

Devolution is particularly important and a critical phase of our Constitution, and that is why we maintain that notion of NMS (Nairobi Metropolitan Service), headed by a military officer, was a big mistake. Even the notion of transferring the Kenya Meat Commission docket to the military was inappropriate and we are right now in the process of reversing all that.

I can assure you that going forward, the Commander-in-Chief of the KDF will revise any such previous mistakes.

Separately, what are your thoughts on the long-standing controversy surrounding the ownership of Migingo Island in Lake Victoria?

This is under consideration under our watch, not just of my ministry but three others – Interior, Foreign Affairs and Lands.

Consultations on this matter are being handled at the highest level of both governments of Kenya and Uganda.

What about our fishermen, who are perpetually harassed and arrested by Ugandan authorities? 

The arrests of our fishing communities as well as the Migingo issue are the result of a dispute over territorial waters.

This is of major importance to us and we are looking at it with a view to addressing both concerns. We will first strive to resolve the border dispute, courtesy of the inter-ministerial team.

In light of what a Ugandan army general recently said on social media, are you willing to take advantage of the situation – now that you are in charge – to demonstrate to the neighbours that we are a force in the region?

We enjoy good relations with Uganda and we regard President Yoweri Museveni as an elderly statesman and a good friend of our country and President.

That aside, this matter has already been addressed at the very highest level of government, with President Museveni offering apologies to his counterpart.

Needless to add, there is no doubt that our military posture in the region is first class and this is a fact known to all.

Talking about regional standing, last Friday, President William Ruto deployed more than 900 military personnel to tackle armed groups in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. What is the persuasion behind this move?

To begin with, this is not entirely the President’s or our country’s decision. The move follows a resolution by the head of states in the East African Community, after the DRC was formally admitted to the regional body in March this year.

It is a decision that was arrived at when the former President was at the helm of power and it was arrived at with a view to resolving the crisis in the DRC. 

Besides Kenya, which is deploying one battalion, the mission also involves Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi with two battalions each, South Sudan with one, while Tanzania has given the commitment to join the mission at a later date.

What is the overall purpose of this engagement by the regional forces?

The objective of the mission is clear – to implement the head of states’ decision of restoring peace in eastern Congo, open up humanitarian corridors so that the vulnerable and marginalised groups can be attended to as well as to give the political process a lifeline.

What is in it for us as a country, Bwana CS?

We are happy to participate because of various reasons, including the fact that we are investing in peace in the region, from which we stand to gain immensely.

Don’t forget that Kenya is particularly viewed as a neutral arbiter in this case because we are the only nation that does not share a border with the DRC.

Ours is accordingly a trusted and professional army and we hope to build on this factor as well as our experience to have our forces integrated in the peace-keeping missions across the world. This provides a good capacity-building and information sharing opportunity.

Don’t you think that by getting directly involved, Kenya risks being caught up in existing hostilities with Uganda and Rwanda?

We are alive to the fact that we could be dragged into ongoing proxy wars involving other regional nations.

But we have engaged accordingly, right from home, where we secured approval from Parliament in accordance to Article 240 (8) of our laws, to the head of our military up to the presidential level, just to ensure everything is smooth and safe, and that we do not get caught up in the local hostilities. Before setting foot in the DRC, we also ensured we got endorsement from all the relevant bodies, right from the regional community, the AU as well as the UN Security Council. 

For how long are we in the DRC, or are we likely to end up the Somalia way where we entered the country in 2011 hoping to conclude a security operation soonest but to this day we are still stuck in the country?

I know the situation in the DRC is bound to be even more complex compared with Somalia, where the Al-Shabaab militia is the target group. In the DRC, however, we are confronting more than 150 militias.

Nonetheless we do not plan to stay in Goma, where KDF is stationed, for more than a year. We are also alive to the realities regarding financial and other related costs of this mission.

In Somalia’s case, are there new plans by the government over KDF’s presence in the country?

We have no new calendar for our soldiers in Somalia, given that the KDF troops are operating under ATMIS (African Union’s Transition Mission in Somalia) alongside other TCCs (Troop Contributing Countries).

We will be in that country to restore peace and shall exit from Mogadishu once this is achieved.

However, there is a drawdown in place already for the exit plan, starting with TCCs which have more troops, such as Uganda. But since the entry of KDF in Somalia, the Al-Shabaab militia has yet to be subdued Our engagement is based on national security and we believe we have registered some achievements as the cases of attacks have scaled down.

The presence of KDF and other forces has also helped to professionalise the SNA (Somali National Army), and build their capacity in dealing with the threat of militia groups.

Which reminds me… what became of the concrete wall the government was building along the Kenya and Somalia border?

I have no idea about its progress or how long the wall stretches. But I will have to visit Mandera soon to assess the situation.

In this day and era, are you still convinced that this physical boundary is the apt solution to security enforcement?

This is obviously an archaic programme. We are now working on a better and sophisticated approach with the Federal Government of Somalia, with the help of other development partners in creating a robust border security, also aimed at opening up safe border passage points at Kiunga, Liboi and Mandera.

We have put the relevant infrastructure on our part and are only waiting for Somalia to do their part. This is going to be an interdepartmental approach involving various ministries of Defence, Interior and Foreign Affairs. In the end, the programme will ensure we have a more comprehensive security approach.

Separately, you are perceived to be a great supporter of former Somalia President, Mohamed Farmaajo. How does this sit with the reality that now you will be working with his main rival, President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, in your official dealings with Somalia?

While it is true that at a personal level Farmaajo is a friend, I do not support individual leaders, but rather I always work with the government of the day.

I am also known to President Hassan. He has demonstrated to us the goodwill to work with the government of President William Ruto and we have accordingly embraced him. As a government, we do not interfere with internal affairs of other countries. We only deal with them based on mutual interest and good neighbourliness.

What should we expect from your dealings with Somalia?

We will support President Hassan and the people of Somalia to bring about peace in their country and in the region, just like we will in DRC, Ethiopia and within EAC and IGAD.

And finally, what are your specific goals for the KDF

I want to focus on enhancing the welfare of our servicemen and women through better healthcare, accommodation and training, and also ensure they access the most appropriate modern facilities and weapons – hardware and software.

I will also create a regional posture and presence of our forces. We brag of a peace-keeping history in the region and we will want to keep it that way. By Oscar Obonyo, NMG

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