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[Dehai-WN] Standardmedia.co.ke: Setting record straight on regional politics and 'Operation linda nchi'

From: Berhane Habtemariam <Berhane.Habtemariam_at_gmx.de_at_dehai.org>
Date: Fri, 6 Apr 2012 00:40:22 +0200

Setting record straight on regional politics and 'Operation linda nchi'

By Farah Maalim

April 5, 2012 |


 As a continuation of the powerful and virulent attack by H.E. Farah Maalim,
Deputy Speaker of the Kenyan Parliament to Meles Zenawi Regime. It is an
article written in response to what the Ethiopian Ambassador wrote in
protest to the interview made by the Deputy Speaker with Jeff Koinanghe

in his program of Capital Talk.

Setting record straight on regional politics and 'Operation linda nchi'

My attention has been drawn to an article published by The Standard On
Saturday on March 24 by Shemsudin Roble, Ethiopian Ambassador to Kenya.

While I initially hesitated to comment and give credence to the commentary
by the ambassador on the regional dynamics, I, however, felt it important to
clarify certain misinformation and erroneous aspects pertaining to my
interview with K24 on March 15 at least for the benefit of Kenyans and other
people in the region. I wish to clarify the following issues:


Democracy in Kenya


While Kenya is a vibrant democracy in the region, Ethiopia is certainly the
complete opposite. In Kenya today, any person who decides to offer oneself
for public office must be ready to be held to account for his/her acts of
commission or omission, be it the President, Prime Minister and other
Government officers, including MPs. This surely is a political context that
cannot be countenanced in Ethiopia.

I suppose then that possibly the Ethiopian ambassador, coming from a very
dictatorial regime, may not comprehend the dynamics of a liberal democracy
like we have in Kenya. The Constitution of Kenya is one of the most
progressive legal documents in Africa. As a Kenyan knowledgeable in
political economy and political history of the Horn of Africa, our
Constitution guarantees freedom of expression, even if others may not agree.

It is open knowledge that those opposed to the regime in Addis often find
themselves in jail, exile or in the graves. No wonder there is a steady
stream of Ethiopians always caught in Kenya as illegal immigrants fleeing
the harsh and autocratic practices. For centuries, successive regimes in
Ethiopia validated themselves through the barrel of the gun.

Empire builders such as Tewodros, Yohannes, Menelik, Iyasu, Haile Selassie
and Mengistu Haile Mariam were killed in wars, executed or forced into
exile, save for Emperor Menelik. The current regime in Ethiopia rose to
power through a protracted guerilla war using the Tigray Peoples Liberation
Front. Today in Ethiopia with an exception of the Amhara, Tigray and
Southern nationalities, all the other regions/nationalities host armed
liberation movements that are fighting Addis Ababa.

The Afar Liberation Front, the Oromo Liberation Front, the Ogaden National
Liberation Front and the Beni-Shangul/Gambela are some of the movements
involved in a violent endeavour to change the status quo in Addis Ababa. The
regime in Addis Ababa must be prepared to give a chance to dialogue.


Operation Linda Nchi


I forgive the ambassador for his failure to listen actively to spoken words.
As a patriotic Kenyan leader, I never stated that I am opposed to the
operation Linda Nchi. While I fully support the operation in Somalia by
Kenya's Defence Forces to eliminate the threats by criminal gangs, I
nevertheless cautioned and qualified my support by expressing the need for a
quick withdrawal strategy even as our patriotic forces got in. I raised
alarm that we may not have learnt lessons from interventions by other
powerful forces that failed in the recent past due to the perception of
being viewed as foreign occupation forces. I would hate a situation where
our defence forces are stuck or bogged down in internal political dynamics
of Somalia, especially given the goodwill shown by the people of Somalia to
our troops. I called for a quick intervention and then withdrawal and not
long term occupations. Is this what the ambassador calls opposition to Linda

Kenya Defence Forces must limit their operations to safeguarding and
protecting Kenya's territorial integrity and creation of a buffer zone along
the border managed and controlled by friendly Somali government forces and
civil administration. We cannot afford to have a meaningless antagonism with
Eritrea or Somalia.

The ambassador says my discussions were malicious and untruth. Let him say
the historical facts to prove me wrong.

The writer is Deputy Speaker


Please find below links on the interview in four parts of Hon. Farah

Maalim, Deputy Speaker of Parliament of the Republic of Kenya with Jeff
Koingange (The Bench) on K24.






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Received on Thu Apr 05 2012 - 18:40:51 EDT
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