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Should Somalia be allowed to join East African Community?

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Denzel Musumba

Denzel Musumba

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In a paper which I read at a recent conference at Maseno University, I argued that as we prepare to admit the new independent state of South Sudan into the East African Community, we should not forget Somalia.

I argued that geographically shielded from the African continent by Kenya and Ethiopia, Somalia will forever be our headache until we absorb it into the fold of her East African neighbours.

This, in fact, was the point which Tom Mboya and Julius Nyerere made in 1962 when they flew to Mogadishu to persuade Somalia to join the East African Community.

But things did not work out, because at the time, the Somalis were emotionally involved in the agitation for a Greater Somalia.

They wanted Kenya’s North Eastern Province and Ethiopia’s Ogaden Province to be ceded to them.

Nevertheless, when Somalia is confronted by tragedies, Kenya and Ethiopia are usually their immediate centres of refuge.

Currently, the Somalis are faced with one of the harshest droughts in their history. About 450,000 of them have fled from their country, with roughly 1,400 refugees arriving daily at Dadaab refuge camp, despite the fact that officially, Kenya’s border with Somalia is closed.

Interestingly, two very intelligent colleagues at the conference objected to my suggestion that Somalia should join the East African Community.More info http://www.nation.co.ke/oped/Opinion/-/440808/1215650/-/mupv0gz/-/index.html

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