Degodia are model nationalists, not secessionists

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In a recent article in the Star website, Muhammed Abdullahi asks, ‘Is the Somali government fueling secessionist agenda in Northern Kenya?’ The article provides no supporting facts. It is said political rhetoric leads people to deeper darkness and confusion. The article best illustrates this statement.

The Degodia, like all other communities in Kenya, are peace-loving and patriotic. They could be described as model nationalist people. History backs their nationalistic aspirations. The community’s global traditional leader is Wabar Abdille, who visited Kenya in 2019 and was received by President Uhuru Kenyatta.

There is nothing sinister if the leaders of the community in Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia ask their people to cooperate, interact, trade and support one another. The issue of a community flag is neither here nor there. Globally, the three pillars of the progress of a people are the markets (economy), the community and the state.

Activities of community cooperation take place in this context. The Somalis are a homogeneous people who share a common culture, language, religion and way of life. It is natural that they can/should always aspire to be joined together in one larger society.

Abdullahi wastes a lot of time describing the personal diary of a decent, intelligent woman called Rahma Mohammed Gulliye. Where Rahma works and for whom is not anyone’s business. Kenyans are everywhere in the world, including in the Australian Senate. That is the definition of progress.

We do not want meaningless distractions from our immediate priorities. The country in general, and Northern Kenya in particular, is presently fighting Covid-19 and insecurity in Mandera and other places. The writer insinuates that the Degodia is the leading community on matters “secession” in Northern Kenya.

Abdullahi must appreciate the progress made by the residents in Northern Kenya in education, business and influencing geopolitics in the region. Why would the government entrust sensitive positions to members of the Degodia community if they were not nationalist models? They have served in middle and senior management levels in security services, national intelligence, and even advised the President on constitutional and legal matters.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Historically, secession was not a Degodia affair but the aspiration of the Northern frontier District comprising six sub-districts namely Mandera, Wajir, Garissa, Moyale, Marsabit and Isiolo.

Just before Independence, on April 3, 1962, Sir Earl Lytton told his British government “… a large portion of Kenya, which is approaching independence, having been our colony, the inhabitants have expressed a wish, after a period of separate autonomy, not under the Kenya Government, to secede to the Republic of Somalia..”

Abdullahi must appreciate the progress made by the residents in Northern Kenya in education, business and influencing geopolitics in the region. Why would the government entrust sensitive positions to members of the Degodia community if they were not nationalist models? They have served in middle and senior management levels in security services, national intelligence, and even advised the President on constitutional and legal matters.

Secessionists are associated with militia or organisations that have taken arms against a political republic. In Africa, two countries have seceded, but at a great cost: Eritrea in 1991 and South Sudan in 2011. Somaliland has a flag and has wanted to secede since 1991, but it has not been accorded any recognition. The African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (Banjul Charter) does not condone secessionism – ‘self-determination’.

There are no such known organisations in Wajir and Mandera where the community in question inhabits. Wajir county has a Degodia Governor, four elected members of Parliament, the most members of county Assembly, MP in Mandera North, East Africa Legislative Assembly member and Kuwait Ambassador.

It is such aspersions against the Degodia community that led to the Wagalla Massacre of February 1984. The same cannot be achieved in 2021. No! Sorry ‘brother’.

Public officers of today’s government are too intelligent to believe such cheap incitement and marketplace gossip. Let the Degodia play their role in management, national cohesion and development.

The writer is a governance and policy analyst