Museveni ‘queried Kenya army ability’ – Nation
Laaska News Sept. 10,2011 Maqaley War laay malagu waramey
Horn of Africa leader discuss drought crisis – Nation
President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda inspects a guard of honour on arrival at JKIA in Nairobi in a past visit. Photo/FILE
Museveni ‘queried Kenya army ability’
President Museveni allegedly questioned the capability of the Kenyan army to fight the Somali insurgents in Somalia, a leaked US diplomatic cable has revealed.
According to the US ambassador to the African Union, Mr Michael Battle, Museveni questioned Kenya’s army bush-fighting credentials and the ideological commitment of its Somali proxies.
He advised the West to pay and develop Transitional Federal Government (TFG) fighters rather than the much more expensive and less effective options of funding international peace keepers and counter-piracy operations, the cables say.
Mr Battle’s comments, contained in a 2010 diplomatic briefing to Washington, leaked to whistle blower website, WikiLeaks, were first published on September 1, 2011.
According to the cable, President Museveni described the Kenyan forces as a “career army” and wondered about their ability to sustain bush fighters.
“Is Kenya used to fighting like this (bush and guerrilla warfare)?” Mr Museveni wondered.
The cable said the Ugandan leader was responding to (US assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Mr Johnnie) Carson’s question about Kenya’s proposed Jubaland Initiative.
President Museveni acknowledged the operational value of seizing Kismayo and, more broadly, denying al Shabaab’s access to sea and airports.
However, “Museveni questioned the capacity of the Kenyans to manage such an offensive, as well as the ideological commitment of the Somali proxy forces,” read the cable.
Mr Museveni reportedly told top US diplomats in a free-ranging conversation on the margins of the African Union (AU) Summit in Addis Ababa in January last year that the Kenyan army and its allies in Somali semi-autonomous state of Jubaland were not ideologically prepared to fight al Shabaab.
Uganda’s minister for International Affairs Henry Okello Oryem, described the cable as a lie.
“There is no iota of truth in it. Our policy is not to comment on the affairs of other countries and do not think the president made those comments,” he said.
Efforts to get comments from the Kenyan Government were futile as the High Commissioner to Uganda was in hospital.
Efforts to get comments from government spokesperson Alfred Mutua, were futile as he didn’t take our calls.
Horn of Africa leader discuss drought crisis
Kenyan President Mwai receives Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi on arrival for the Horn of Africa drought Crisis Meeting at the United Nations complex at Gigiri in Nairobi. Looking on is Tanzanian leader Jakaya Kikwete. PPS | AFRICA REVIEW |
Kenya’s President Mwai Kibaki Friday said permanent solutions to Horn of Africa’s drought related crisis lay on respective nations’ programmes and action plans with clear timelines of implementation.
Speaking during the International Conference on the Drought Situation in the Horn of Africa at the UN Complex in Gigiri, Nairobi, President Kibaki asserted that only such bold move would ensure sustainable solutions to the continental crisis.
“I therefore call upon each one of you gathered here to devote yourselves to the task of finding long term solutions to the continental crisis,” the President challenged the participants.
Other leaders outlined the measures they had taken in their countries to mitigate the effects of drought.
Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete reaffirmed his country’s support to regional efforts towards ensuring food security.
Noting that despite the drought there were areas that still enjoyed good rains, President Kikwete said proper policies should be formulated to increase production in those areas so that the surplus could be transported to deficit areas.
In this regard, the Tanzanian President expressed the need to revamp infrastructure, especially roads and railways, to facilitate smooth transportation of food within the region.Calling for support from the international community, the Kenyan leader observed that previous resource mobilisation efforts to mitigate the effects of drought largely concentrated on short term emergency interventions.
President Kibaki pointed out that the drought crisis was a matter of grave concern with regard to the reality that over the past decade, the Horn of Africa had experienced severe cycles due to effects of climate change.
He noted that the recurrence of extreme weather and climatic conditions in the region had been increasing in intensity and frequency due to climate change, thus destroying traditional means of livelihood to many communities.
South Sudan President Salva Kiir said all available resources should be mobilised to address the effects of the drought, while Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi underscored the need for restoration of peace and stability in Somalia as a way of alleviating the refugee problem in neighbouring countries.
In a speech read on his behalf by the UN Under-Secretary General Sahle-Work Zewde, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon commended Kenya for convening the summit and for hosting a large number of refugees even as it dealt with the challenges resulting from drought.
Other speakers included the President of the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia Sharif Sheikh Ahmed and Africa Union Commission Vice-Chairman Erastus Mwencha.
Kenya’s Prime Minister Raila Odinga also attended the summit.
The United Nations, the World Bank, regional governments and development partners provided the financial support for the hosting of the conference.