Politician Musalia Mudavadi has appealed to the international community to urgently act on the brewing border row between Kenya and Somalia to keep it from escalating.
An Indian Ocean maritime territorial dispute escalated with claims that Mogadishu auctioned oil and gas blocks in a contested area.
As a result, Somali ambassador Mohamoud Ahmed Nur alias Tarzan was expelled by the Kenya government, which also recalled its own envoy to Somalia, Lt-Gen (Rtd) Lucas Tumbo.
Mr Nur arrived at Mogadishu’s Aden Abdulle International Airport early Sunday, media reported.
Mr Mudavadi, leader of Amani National Congress (ANC) and a principal of the National Super Alliance (Nasa), explained on Sunday that any escalation of conflict in the region will only lead to more problems for Kenya.
“We do not want any escalation of conflict in this region. We, as Kenya, are suffering from the impact of the unstable nation next to us. We bear the brunt. We have seen many of our people die in terrorists’ attempts and other things,” he said.
The ANC leader further pointed out that internationally, every nation is allowed up to 200 aeronautical miles into the sea as part of the boundary.
He took a swipe at Somalia over the allegation, saying it knew that the ruling on the case had not been concluded.
“Kenya was already in the international community with Somalia on the issue of the boundary in the sea. Before that matter is resolved, Somalia seems to be going ahead to unilaterally allocate prospecting rights in terms of oil blocks in the sea. Why is this so?”
He added, “I simply urge all Kenyans not to be bipartisan. On this, let us stand with the government of Kenya to protect the integrity of the boundaries as recognised by the international community.”
Mr Mudavadi said the row is already a matter for international litigation so it should not be taken lightly.
The former vice president also noted that the two countries have not had a pleasant history where boundary agreements are concerned.
He said that Kenya has had tiffs with her neighbour since independence and that this resulted in cessation attempts and bids to alter boundaries, which almost affected the northern parts of the country.
“This is not a matter to be taken lightly because we have a history. Clearly, from a patriotic and national viewpoint, this matter should be tackled carefully and urgently … the international community should not take it for granted,” he said on Sunday after a service at House of Grace along Lang’ata Road in Nairobi.