Kenya warns the world over Somalia

July 5, 2009 12:00 am

, BERLIN, Jul 5 – Prime Minister Raila Odinga has warned the International Community that it is courting grave danger by failing to stand by the threatened government in Somalia.

At the same time, Mr Odinga asked the West to note the changes that have taken place in Africa since the fall of the Berlin Wall and adjust their policies towards the continent accordingly.

Speaking at a ceremony hosted by the Table of Democracy in honour of Prof Dr Horst Kohler, the President of the Federal Republic of Germany in Berlin, Mr Odinga said Africa is better governed today than it was in the 1990s.

The Prime Minster had been invited to represent Africa at the ceremony marking the start of Mr Kohler’s second term.

"Everywhere across Africa, people are making the same demands that we see in the West. People want freedom, accountability, democracy, good standards of and good governance. Leaders have also accepted that people have a right to these things and are struggling to deliver them or at least they promise to do so," Mr Odinga said.

The Prime Minister said donor nations would be of help if they recognised those changes instead of working with a mindset of the cold war era.

The Prime Minister said Africa was paying a heavy price for the policies that were unveiled in foreign capitals during the era of the Cold war and forced on Africa in the name of fighting Communism.

He singled out foreign debts that are eating into the savings of African nations while there is nothing to show for that money that was donated.

"Before the fall of the Berlin Wall, any African leaders who said they were fighting Communism were given all the funding they needed. Because these leaders positioned themselves as allies of the West, they were never asked to account for the money. The result is that we are being asked to pay the money we were lent by the West, but we can’t tell our citizens what that money did for them," Mr Odinga posed.

He said Somalia, which has now become a headache to the world, is one such nation paying heavily for the policies of the Cold War era policies.

"Every child in Kenya is born with a debt of millions of shillings to pay to the West. But we can’t explain what that money did for us.  Most of it found its way back to banks in Switzerland and New York and England. The story is the same across the continent," he said.

On Somalia, the PM asked developed countries to honour the pledges they made to help the government of Somalia adding that the world could pay a heavy price if insurgents take over the Horn of African nation.

Mr Odinga said the war in Somalia poses grave danger to Kenya and the entire Eastern Africa region.

"Make stability in Somalia and Sudan a key plank of your policy as you begin your second term in office.  If Mogadishu falls to insurgents, Al Qaeda will find a safe haven from which to launch attacks worldwide.  If the world finds it hard to penetrate Somalia now that there is some form of government, the country will be impenetrable to everyone else except Al Qaeda should Mogadishu fall," Mr Odinga said.

He said Kenya is keen to see stability in Somalia and Sudan adding that instability in the two nations was a strain to Kenya’s resources.

"We want the Comprehensive Peace Agreement fully implemented in Sudan. We are getting signals that there is some problem with its implementation and the tone is beginning to change in the South. The world must get involved," Mr Odinga said.

The PM said instability in Somalia, Ethiopia and Sudan create insecurity in Kenya as firearms end up in wrong hands and find their way into Kenya.

Mr Kohler said Germany is keen to help Kenya deal with threats from across the borders and to create stability in Somalia.

He said the changes taking place across the world are increasingly putting the fate of Africa in the hands of its leaders and they must wake up to the challenge.

"The world is accepting that the old approach of telling Africa what to do has not worked and will not work. They want to come as partners in development, not the drivers. But that puts more responsibility on Africa’s leaders to come up with sound policies on which we can support them," Kohler said.


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