Kenya vows to defy ICJ ruling on Indian ocean border row

President Uhuru Kenyatta

Even before the ICJ verdict was delivered, president Kenyatta who seems to have been privy to aspects of the ruling had vowed that Kenya would not cede an inch of her territory

By The Weekly Vision Online

President Uhuru Kenyatta could be pushing the country into unfamiliar waters after he vowed to defy the ruling delivered by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on the boundary dispute with Somalia.

President Kenyatta dismissed the ruling in favour of Somalia regarding a boundary dispute in the Indian ocean with Kenya lodged at the ICJ in 2014. The president now serving his second and last term has called for a “negotiated settlement” between the two countries.

Kenya deployed peacekeeping troops in Somalia’s Kisamayu region since 2011 under US-UN backed Amisom. Kenyan troops have waged a fierce battle with the Alshabab terror group that has kept staging hit and run attacks on targets deep in Kenya and parts of Nairobi.

Even before the ICJ verdict was delivered, president Kenyatta who seems to have been privy to aspects of the ruling had vowed that Kenya would not cede an inch of her territory.

Last week President Kenyatta wearing military fatigues was in Lamu near the disputed Indian ocean boundary waters to oversee a massive military drill by KDF infantry and marine units. The exercise left little doubt as to the motive for the military state of alert ahead of the ICJ ruling

Diplomatic sources are warning Nairobi of “punitive’ economic sanctions if it defies the ruling by the top UN court. President Kenyatta is the current UN security council president for October 2021. The Kenyan leader was in New York chairing a security council meeting at the UN headquarters when ICJ made the ruling. Kenya is being urged to lead by example as Africa’s member of the all-important UN security council.

Somalia has also reacted in fury at the “defiant” stand by Kenya saying it had “successfully” argued its case and that all parties should abide by the international law to avoid escalating tensions.

Last week President Kenyatta wearing military fatigues was in Lamu near the disputed Indian ocean boundary waters to oversee a massive military drill by KDF infantry and marine units. The exercise left little doubt as to the motive for the military state of alert ahead of the ICJ ruling.

Speaking after the military drill President Kenyatta warned those out to “test our resolve” in protecting Kenya’s territorial integrity saying the military was ready to defend the country’s borders.

President Kenyatta was flanked by top military commanders who all pledged “willingness” to defend the country. This hard-line position was meant to send a strong message to Mogadishu and the Hague court. The ICJ ruling has rattled Kenya’s political establishment that is preparing for crucial transition elections in August 2022. The deputy president William Ruto is yet to comment. Ex-prime minister opposition leader Raila Odinga who is also an African Union envoy for infrastructure has also not reacted. But FORD Kenya leader Moses Wetangula has urged President Kenyatta not to “cede” an inch of the disputed water boundary.

A new boundary drawn by the International Court of Justice was closest to a line proposed by Somalia, attributing to it several offshore oil blocks claimed by Kenya. The revised maritime border along the exclusive economic zones for the continental shelves of Somalia and Kenya “achieves an equitable solution”, Judge Joan Donoghue said.

Kenya, which did secure some territory beyond the Somali claim, had failed to prove there was an established sea boundary between the states, which would have given it a greater portion of the disputed territory, the court found.

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