President Uhuru Kenyatta vowed to protect the country’s territorial boundaries after the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruled that Kenya should cede a section of the contested maritime territory to Somalia.
In a televised speech on Tuesday, October 12, Uhuru stated that Kenya expected the decision to be made largely in favour of Somalia and cautioned that the ruling on marine delimitation would affect relations between the two neighbouring countries.
The President lamented that the ICJ and other international organisations were being deployed to fight the sovereignty of African countries. The ICJ, he stated, imposed jurisdiction on a dispute it had neither jurisdiction nor competence.
“The ICJ, delivered its decision in the Maritime Delimitation in the Indian Ocean Case (Somalia – Kenya). At the outset, Kenya wishes to indicate that it rejects in totality and does not recognize the findings in the decision.
“The Court did not permit the use, let alone the exhaustion, of regional dispute resolution mechanisms, despite the existence of a robust African Union legal framework on border issues and dispute settlement,” the Head of State raised his grievances.
He noted that Kenya at first participated in the initial proceedings of the case owing to her respect of the rule of law, despite being aware that the hearings were skewed to favour Somalia.
Kenya, he added, was forced to withdraw from defending herself against Somalia’s allegations as she faced a persistent procedural unfairness from a biased bench.
“Fellow Kenyans, when I became President on April 9, 2013, I took an oath to protect the territorial integrity of the Republic of Kenya. I do not intend to abrogate my solemn oath; and, I will do everything possible as President and Commander-in-Chief, to preserve the territory of this our great Republic and bequeath the same, intact and unencumbered, to the next President when my term expires in less than a year’s time.
“As your President, I want to assure you of my commitment to solve this issue amicably and urge you all to remain calm as my Government remains fully seized of the matter,” he assured.
Uhuru stated that he would pursue other avenues to solve the matter. He reached out to the international community to create an enabling environment for the pursuit of a negotiated settlement.
The organs Kenya hopes would mediate between the two include the United Nations, the United Nations Security Council as well as the African Union’s Peace and Security Council and the African Union Border Programme.
“We beseech the rest of the family of Nations to appreciate and respect our inherent right to protect, by all available means, our territory. Nonetheless, Kenya is committed to a diplomatic solution to the current impasse,” he stated.
While addressing the media in Somalia, the country’s President Mohamed Farmaajo welcomed the decision by ICJ, stating that the the court upheld the rule of law.