Paper Accuses Neighbours Of Wreaking Havoc On Kenya

Nairobi- Kenya (PANA) -- Reflecting the concerns of many Kenyans on the negative impact the conflicts in neighbouring countries is having on their country, the privately-owned 'The People' newspaper has urged the Nairobi government to do something about the situation.
Beginning with restive Ethiopia, the Nairobi-based paper says the situation in that country should be a cause of worry for Kenyans.
"That poor country looks headed for internal strife again.
"For two weeks now, students and military officers have been fleeing Ethiopia into Kenya," it says, pointing out that Kenyans seem to pay little attention to Ethiopia because of the stronger family and trading relations with both Tanzania and Uganda than either Ethiopia or Somalia.
This derives mainly from the fact that communication and links by air, land and railway with Dar es Salaam and Kampala are more well established.
Nonetheless, the paper says it was time Nairobi paid as much attention to Addis Ababa and Mogadishu because their instability could create more havoc for Kenya than the other neighbours.
"The two (Ethiopia and Somalia) are the biggest sources of misery to Kenyans.
Most small arms used in the robberies in Nairobi have their sources either in either Somalia or Ethiopia.
Most of the refugees in the country today come from either Somalia, Ethiopia and Sudan," it notes.
"These three countries are a great security risk to Kenya.
Their tribal ideologies have found root in some pastoral communities in Kenya," The People maintains, adding that there is a feeling that the money used for the purchase of arms for conflicts in the countries may have been raised in Kenya.
It claims that since the collapse of the central government in Somalia, Somali port towns have become the biggest sources of goods smuggled into Kenya such as sugar, electronics, textiles and other consumer items which find their way into Nairobi through the Kenya-Somali border.
"Kenya industries are threatened by this influx of untaxed goods and the corruption that goes with it," the paper says.
The trouble in Somalia has affected Kenya in another way, it says, citing "huge numbers" of Somali nationals who have illegally acquired Kenyan identity cards and travel documents with which they seek residence abroad, as a result of which visa requirements have now been imposed on Kenyans who want to travel abroad.
It says many Somali and Ethiopian refugees refuse to stay in camps but prefer to set up small businesses like operating the "Matatus" (public transport) and stationery supply.
"Kenyans must decide what to do with these neighbours and their perennial problems.
Do the governments there not have a responsibility to resolve their political problems without resorting to arms? Can we help in anyway to resolve these conflicts so that we can stem the refugee flow into this country?" the paper queries.
However, it says the case of Somalia is bound to become even more difficult to tackle, alleging that Kenyan President Daniel arap Moi, seems to favour certain key people (warlords) involved in the conflict.
"Nairobi is the second home for the warlords away from home.
A large number of these people have businesses and 'ambassadors' in Eastleigh area of Nairobi.
Eastleigh is a suburb of Mogadishu.
There are portraits of warlords in most shops owned by Mogadishu in that estate", says the pro-opposition newspaper.
It says the refugees must be made to understand that they are in a foreign country that wants to remain at peace with itself.
"We have also seen some take up arms against indigenous Kenyans and brand them thieves as they administer mob justice.
These people must be stopped," the paper demands.

24 june 2001 17:12:00




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