, NEW YORK, Sept 28 – President Mwai Kibaki has congratulated the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF), who are within the AMISOM mandate in Somalia, for the victorious capture of the port city of Kismayu.
The President described the KDF and AMISOM forces as heroes and gallant soldiers who contributed to the turning point in the war against the forces of terrorism and those opposed to the peace and stability of the people of Somalia.
“This is a game changer for the people of Somalia; it is a defining moment. A people long used to being subject of forces of terrorism that sought to engage in a siege mentality of extremism now have a good chance of restoring peace in their country, and engaging in productive economic and social opportunities,” said the President.
The President who has been in New York for the UN General Assembly meeting recalled his words at the meeting: “This is the time to send a clear message to the world, that the people of Somalia have gone through a tumultuous time. Now is the time to encourage them to embrace peace, Kenya stands to be counted as a friend of the Government and people of Somalia. Those who seek to be spoilers of the peace should be dealt with firmly and decisively. The AMISOM forces and the international community mobilized the forces to deal with threats of piracy. This was successful and keeping the peace in Somalia will also be possible,” said the President.
Kibaki said Kenya would actively participate in the reconstruction process of the nation of Somalia. The President was however cautious that many hurdles remained in the way.
“There are those who will not relent. There are extremist, terrorist and fundamentalist forces that will seek to destabilize Somalia and the region. To them we say, the time for war, civil strife and extremism is over. Join the people of Somalia and the region who want to see and have genuine peace and reconciliation. After 20 years, Somalia has lost opportunities; we have 20 year-olds who have never seen the inside of a classroom, mothers who have never known what maternal health care means and men who have never held a grandchild because their children died of hunger, disease and war,” President Kibaki noted.
The President appealed to the people of Somalia to embrace peace and reconciliation because their best years were ahead, and assured them that Kenya would be there to help Somalia retake its place in the family of modern day nations.
President Kibaki appealed to the international community to help in the reconstruction process that would see the return of over 600,000 refugees who are currently residing in refugee camps in Kenya. He also appealed to the Somalis in the Diaspora to seize the moment and play the rightful role in the new Somalia.