Uhuru's Next Course of Action After ICJ Ruling

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    President Uhuru Kenyatta addresses the nation in August 2020
  • President Uhuru Kenyatta vowed to protect the country’s territorial boundaries after the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruled that Kenya should cede a section of the contested maritime territory to Somalia. 

    In a televised speech on Tuesday, October 12, Uhuru stated that Kenya expected the decision to be made largely in favour of Somalia and cautioned that the ruling on marine delimitation would affect relations between the two neighbouring countries. 

    The President lamented that the ICJ and other international organisations were being deployed to oppose the sovereignty of African countries. The ICJ, he stated, imposed jurisdiction on a dispute it had neither jurisdiction nor competence. 

    “The ICJ, delivered its decision in the Maritime Delimitation in the Indian Ocean Case (Somalia – Kenya). At the outset, Kenya wishes to indicate that it rejects in totality and does not recognize the findings in the decision.

    ICJ judge Justice Joan E. Donoghue reads the ruling in the maritime delimitation case between Kenya and Somalia on Tuesday, October 12, 2021

    “The Court did not permit the use, let alone the exhaustion, of regional dispute resolution mechanisms, despite the existence of a robust African Union legal framework on border issues and dispute settlement,” the Head of State raised his grievances. 

    He noted that Kenya at first participated in the initial proceedings of the case owing to her respect of the rule of law, despite being aware that the hearings were skewed to favour Somalia. 

    Kenya, he added, was forced to withdraw from defending herself against Somalia’s allegations as she faced a persistent procedural unfairness from a biased bench. 

    “Fellow Kenyans, when I became President on April 9, 2013, I took an oath to protect the territorial integrity of the Republic of Kenya. I do not intend to abrogate my solemn oath; and, I will do everything possible as President and Commander-in-Chief, to preserve the territory of this our great Republic and bequeath the same, intact and unencumbered, to the next President when my term expires in less than a year’s time.

    “As your President, I want to assure you of my commitment to solve this issue amicably and urge you all to remain calm as my Government remains fully seized of the matter,” he assured. 

    Uhuru stated that he would pursue other avenues to solve the matter. He reached out to the international community to create an enabling environment for the pursuit of a negotiated settlement.

    The organs Kenya hopes would mediate between the two include the United Nations, the United Nations Security Council as well as the African Union’s Peace and Security Council and the African Union Border Programme.  

    “We beseech the rest of the family of Nations to appreciate and respect our inherent right to protect, by all available means, our territory. Nonetheless, Kenya is committed to a diplomatic solution to the current impasse,” he stated. 

    While addressing the media in Somalia, the country's President Mohamed Farmaajo welcomed the decision by ICJ, stating that the court upheld the rule of law. 

    A section of local leaders has called upon Uhuru not to cede ground but protect Kenya's territory. However, they also called for him to uphold peace and posterity and diplomatic relations between the two conflicting countries. 

    "They are trying to use international courts to in manipulation. We will not surrender even an inch. Our territorial integrity must be respected across the globe," Agriculture CS Peter Munya stated. 

    "Kenya should take necessary and appropriate action in a bid to protect its territorial Integrity. It was illogical for the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to base the Somalia Boundary line on equidistance rather than the acceptable parallel line of latitude," Charles Nguna, MP Mwingi West tweeted. 

    President Uhuru Kenyatta (right) and his Somalia counterpart Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo follow proceedings during Kenya's 16th annual National Prayer Breakfast at Safari Park hotel in Nairobi on May 31, 2018.
    President Uhuru Kenyatta (right) and his Somalia counterpart Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo follow proceedings during Kenya's 16th annual National Prayer Breakfast at Safari Park hotel in Nairobi on May 31, 2018.