A reluctant Kenya has been called by to provide its assets to bring to order the troubled Horn of Africa. The thinking has been that Somalia needed to have the Islamic fundamentalist threats dealt with from a more robust regional initiative involving Kenya as a strategic player.
The Islamic militant’s rapid advance into Mogadishu has clearly brought forth the need for looking afresh at the deteriorating situation in the horn of Africa. Kenya’s security policy makers should actually rise up to the occasion to be counted as robust partners in a broader coalition that should bring in elements from different constituencies to counter this threat.
Kenya shares borders with Somalia and its maritime industry including the Port of Mombasa stand to loose substantially through the reluctance which it has demonstrated so far. This reluctance need to be looked at afresh.
For one Kenya is the only country along the shore lines of the Indian Ocean with a credible and professional naval force. Such assets can be ranged along with those from like minded countries which are keen to check the piratical industry which Somalia has bred.
The Kenyan Navy along with naval assistance from USA, China, Russia and others, who have been affected by the security lapses along the Indian Ocean, can mount a joint naval campaign to clear, once and for all, the pirates who have hijacking vessels, which ply the Gulf of Aden for ransom.
If anything these huge ransoms only end up in boosting the capacities of these militants and other lawless elements serving to worsen an already dire situation. I tend to think that deterrence should be the password to be used in offering a sustainable solution.
The Kenya Air Force, a very formidable security agency with a sophisticated array of air assets and capabilities can be called upon to provide the kind of superiority needed over the skies of the Indian Ocean waters and territories which these lawless elements have been lording over for quite some time.
Another idea but which might spark great controversy within Kenya is its use of its land forces to stage a territorial attack into Somalia to take on these elements. Ethiopia did that.
Kenya ought to take a leadership role in developing an expeditionary force to launch some pre-emptive strikes against the militants. However all these can only be undertaken once all the other equally critical political and international concerns and considerations have been taken care of.
My parting shot is that time has come for Kenya to put to good use its elaborate security agencies involving naval, air and territorial assets for the greater good of our continent.
We cannot sit and watch from the sidelines as the Horn of Africa slides into another phase of desolation. Other African countries have offered assistance. Time for Kenya to be counted is now.