Rob MacaireHigh Commissioner to Kenya, Nairobi
I am puzzled by Mucemi's linkage of this attack with Afghanistan, and his reference to the so-called 'Global War on Terror', a phrase that I haven't heard for some time, at least since the last US Administration. The conflict in Somalia, and indeed terrorist attacks in East Africa, started long before 9/11 or Western intervention in Afghanistan. We certainly want to encourage peaceful progress in Somalia away from state failure. The current transitional government has made it clear that they are willing to work with whoever in the country is prepared to join a non-violent process. I hope that can be realised, and I don't believe that cowardly terrorist attacks are likely to change that determination by those countries who have Somalia's interests at heart.
Here's another thought: I know from our work with the Kenyan authorities that they are putting a lot of effort into keeping Kenya safe from such attacks. But as things stand, they are hampered by having no law that can prosecute or even detain people for planning terrorist attacks. Terrorism legislation needs to be implemented carefully and with full safeguards to protect civil liberties and protect minorities. But in this day and age, I wonder if Kenya is looking out of step with other countries in not having such legislation.
16 July 2010