By Fauxile Kibet
The planned Amisom troop drawdown proposed by the United Nations may be reconsidered if a proposal by Kenya to have AU forces serve for a longer period sails through.
Kenya’s Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Monica Juma argued that the United Nations need to reconsider the move as the stability and development of Somalia was key for the prosperity of the entire region.
“We shall along with the other Troop Contributing Countries and the Somali Government petition the UN Security Council to reconsider the resolution on drawdown of Amisom troops, restore the previous troop levels to allow recovery of territory still under control of Al Shabaab,” she said.
She however expressed optimism that President Farmaajo’s administration will build on the gains made so far by Amisom troops and that the Somali people will eventually define a path to their own destiny.
“Notably, with regard to relations between the Federal Government of Somalia (FGS) and the Federal Member States, the constitutional review process and the development of an electoral system towards 2020 elections. Kenya will continue to offer support to Somalia.”
The Cabinet Secretary said this Thursday when Kenya launched a bid for a seat at the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) during an election to be held in two years’ time. Kenya has in the past served as a non-permanent member at the council, first between 1973-1974 and 1997-1998.
“Peace, security and development are interlinked and mutually reinforcing, and neither can be achieved without the other. Addressing drivers and root causes of the absence of peace and security is of critical importance,” she said.
The move by Kenya comes barely a week after troops contributing countries meeting in Kampala warned against draw-down and instead called for the reversal of the decision arrived at by the UN Security Council last August.
“A premature withdrawal is likely to undermine the gains made over the last decade, at a great human and financial cost,” African Union Commission chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat told the meeting. “Central to this will be predictable financing for AMISOM that will make it possible for the Somali national security forces to take over primary security responsibility from AMISOM.”
The first batch of 1,000 troops left the country last December with a similar number expected to exit by October this year.
REPRIEVE FOR SOMALIA
Kenya’s proposal comes as a reprieve for President Mohammed Farmaajo’s federal government as the US intelligence recently warned that a draw-down of African Union forces will complicate Somalia’s stability.
The report titled, Worldwide Threat Assessment of the US intelligence community observed that an exit of AMISOM forces will provide room for Al-Shabaab to strengthen its activities – further plunging Somalia into a security crisis.
“Somalia’s recently elected government probably will struggle to project its authority and implement security reforms amid the drawdown of African Union forces in 2018, while al-Shabaab probably will increase attacks,” the report reads in part.
Late last year, Amisom announced that it had initiated a series of troop movements, aimed at re-aligning contingent compositions in various forward bases across Somalia as it plans to hand over security duties to the Somalia National Army.