NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 5 – Coalition for Reforms and Democracy leader Raila Odinga says it is time for Kenya to withdraw its troops from neighbouring Somalia.
The former Prime Minister who addressed members of the Somali community in Eastleigh said the continued stay of Kenya Defence Forces soldiers in Somalia is hurting Kenyans.
“It is high time the Government should evaluate whether there is any reason to still have our soldiers at Somalia. Does their continued stay in Somali bring peace to our country?” he posed.
“We went there because there were many attacks then by the thugs.”
President Uhuru Kenyatta has insisted that he has no intention of withdrawing the troops from the war torn country until they accomplish their mission.
Kenyan forces that are now fighting under the AMISOM command moved into Somalia in 2011 and have continued to boast of major success in neutralising the Al Shabaab militia.
Odinga also challenged the Government to enhance security instead of launching ad-hoc operations that are allegedly targeted at one community.
“The kind of operation we saw here was discriminatory; this should not happen,” he argued.
The Usalama Watch operation has seen over 2,000 people arrested and screened with more than 200 being deported to their countries for lack of legal documents.
Explosive materials and illegal fire arms were recovered but critics of the operation argue it was targeted at the Somali community.
The operation was mainly carried out at Eastleigh in Nairobi and in some parts of the coast region mostly in Mombasa County.
The Government has vowed to enhance security in the country following the upsurge of insecurity which has negatively impacted the country’s economy and citizens’ well being.
In a bid to roll out major security programmes, the Government has set aside Sh78.5 billion for various programmes in the next financial year.
The Government will in the 2014-2015 budget for instance use Sh6.7 billion for leasing motor vehicles and at least five helicopters in efforts to enhance security operations in the country.
Last year, the government hired 1,200 police vehicles as a way of cutting high cost incurred through direct purchase and maintenance.
The National Police Service will also have a medical insurance scheme which has been allotted Sh1.6 billion.
To boost its surveillance, the Government has also awarded Safaricom a Sh15 billion tender to install surveillance equipment in Nairobi and Mombasa.
On the calls for national dialogue, Odinga termed a decision for him and Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka “to go and have tea with President Uhuru Kenyatta at Statehouse” as an insult saying, “do you think I am the kind of person who can do that?” he posed.
“My brother, the president had agreed at Nyayo Stadium but some people have gone to him saying he did wrong.”
“I want to tell my brother, Uhuru Kenyatta, I can see a storm… a huge storm which will hit all areas and sweep all the dirt to the ocean. The President should allow the talks instead of waiting for this.”
He said, if there will be no dialogue, “Saba Saba is coming, Kenyans shall meet and we shall talk. That day, God will hear our talks.”
Odinga was accompanied by Suna Member of Parliament Mohammed Junet and Homabay senator Gladys Wanga who equally said the Government had failed its citizens.