UN, Kenya negotiating costs for Somalia war, says Raila
Nairobi (RBC Radio) Kenya is yet to agree with United Nations on how to fund its troops’ operations in Somalia. Prime Minister Raila Odinga said the Government and the UN are rooting for different time frames on funding.
“We have been saying that UN takes charge of the cost as from January, but they (UN) are talking of August. So this is a matter we are still debating,” Raila told Parliament, adding that the operation has claimed 17 soldiers while five are missing.
Kenyan troops formally joined Amisom in July while Parliament approved a similar Motion in December 2011, three months after Kenya Defence Forces ventured into the horn of Africa country.
Raila told MPs that though the cost of the operation is enormous, the country had no option but to protect its territory from invasion by Al Shabaab. He said the cost would, however, reduce since KDF were re-hatted to Amisom.
“This operation costs a lot of money but we had no choice because our security was threatened,” he told MPs who wanted to know how much has been spent in the operation.
Raila said the reluctance by the international community to venture into Somalia forced Kenya to get into the war-ravaged country as it has a lot of stake to ensure that its neighbourhood is peaceful. An Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (Igad) resolution had banned frontline states from deploying their military into Somalia but this was later lifted owing to unwillingness of other states.
Raila told MPs that the reconstruction of Somalia requires concerted efforts. He, however, said Kenya has no intention to occupy Somalia.
“There is need for peace-keeping efforts. The task of reconstructing Somalia is enormous and requires international efforts,” said the PM.
Since the troops ventured into Somalia, Garsen MP Danson Mungatana said the forex influx has reduced from $172 billion to $6.4 billion, a situation Raila attributed to a stoppage on money flowing into the country as a result of piracy.
“Money coming to the country was being smuggled and there were suspicions it was coming from piracy, so it was extorted money. I don’t think our government should rely on piracy money,” said Raila.