Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua has commended the United Kingdom for its efforts in strengthening security in the region and called on other international partners to support resilience measures for communities in the northern part of the country.
Mr Gachagua was speaking during the launch of the Kenya-Somalia-Ethiopia Borderlands Security Project in Mandera County, which is supported by the UK government.
While noting that the region has been left behind due to devastating drought and deteriorating security, Mr Gachagua said the project will boost economic development and improve stability for the three countries.
“Insecurity hinders development, insecurity hinders education; children learn to use guns instead of pens, fear for their lives keeps teachers away and infrastructure development is silenced by armed conflict. We must silence the gun so that industry can roar back. We must silence the violence for socio-economic prosperity,” Mr Gachagua said.
The DP also said Kenya was hosting 2.5 million refugees from neighbouring countries and needed support.
“As we host our neighbours fleeing conflict, this influx puts a strain on our resources at local and national levels. That is why we are looking to you and other partners for more support in building and strengthening resilience,” said Mr Gachagua.
Internal Security Cabinet Secretary Kithure Kindiki said the national government would tackle the security issues affecting residents of northern Kenya.
“We have had significant threats related to terrorism in this region. As a government, we need to be alive and sensitive to the complexities of security in this region. We have agreed that going forward we will allow our governors to concentrate on their core business as we take over our functions, including the national police reserves,” said Prof Kindiki.
According to outgoing British High Commissioner to Kenya Jane Marriot, the security project will be implemented at three levels over the next three years.
At the first level, the governments of Kenya, Somalia and Ethiopia will work together to understand the dynamics of peace and formulate appropriate policies. The project will also be implemented at the sub-national level, and community level.
“The project will support effective policy programming to understand local conflict dynamics and it will support both formal and informal institutions, including those cross-border mechanisms that work to build the resilience of these communities,” said Ms Marriot.
Somalia’s Security Minister Mohamed Doodishe and Ethiopia’s Minister of Peace and Security Binalf Andualem praised the project, saying it would help the region achieve its development goals and lasting peace.