NAIROBI (PSCU) – President Uhuru Kenyatta on Saturday made an appeal to the international community to act right to fully bring back Somalia into the fold of the international community of nations.
Kenyatta rooted for durable solutions to the Somali refugees problem, and said the recent presidential elections in Somalia is the latest indication that Somalia is on the right track.
He credited the determination of Somalia’s people, the commitment by the African Union and the support of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) for the progress.
“Indeed, the recent election of President Mohammed Abdullahi Mohammed is the latest and clearest indication of the progressive success of our collective efforts, alongside the brave people of Somalia,” Kenyatta said.
President Kenyatta spoke on Saturday in Nairobi when he hosted a special IGAD summit whose agenda was to find a lasting solution to return Somali refugees back to their homes, the first summit of its kind to address the refugee problem.
“What is clear to me, as it is to you leaders, and to all the Somali refugees, is that the time for lasting solutions is now,” said Kenyatta, who is also the IGAD rapporteur.
He made a passionate appeal that turned focus on the refugees themselves and why it was the right time for them to go back home and participate in building their nation.
“A refugee camp was never meant to be a permanent home, nor is being a refugee a promise of losing your citizenship and your country,” he said.
He detailed how more than 400,000 refugees from Somalia have been cramped into the Dadaab refugee camp for more than two decades.
The Kenyan president said that the camp has always operated with a fraction of the budget it requires and the life has been hard on the refugees.
Besides the suffering of the refugees, the President said the camp has long lost its humanitarian character.
“It is not acceptable to us that a space that is supposed to provide safety and assistance is transformed to facilitate agents of terror and destruction,” said President Kenyatta.
He said Kenya reached a decision to close the refugee camp after the situation in Somalia improved and after Government came to the conclusion that the threats from the camp were big.
“Dadaab has become a protracted situation, characterized by hopelessness that easily feeds environmental destruction; conflicts between refugees and host communities; insecurity; radicalization; criminality; and allows terrorist operatives to exploit it for their operational efforts,” said Kenyatta.
He said majority of the refugees want to go back home and so far 60,000 have voluntarily returned to Somalia.
Kenya commits Ksh 100 million
Kenyatta said Kenya has already committed more than Kenya Sh100 million to support the voluntary repatriation of refugees.
The Kenyan president said he recently hosted the new Somalia President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed “Farmajo” where Kenya pledge to build the capacity of the Somali Government institutions, including training teachers, nurses, and administrators.
He said Kenya has also pledged another KSh100 million to construct a technical training institute to give skills to train refugee youth before they go back home.