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Ethnic Somalis in Kenya have always been the target of security operations resulting in serious human rights violations. That is what is currently happening again following attacks by suspected Al Shabaab militants. But not all Somalis are terrorists. The state should respect their fundamental rights as citizens

It’s with due respect that Somalis in Kenya, be they Kenyan Somalis, Ethiopian Somalis, Djaboutian Somalis or Somalia Somalis, would like to share the following with you and your government:

1. That Somalis are highly social beings who due to their land’s climatic condition and age-old lifestyle are highly mobile just like their cousins the ‘Fulani’ of West Africa;

2. Being the very bold and not strangers anywhere, coupled with their characteristic aggressiveness almost similar to the Kikuyus of Kenya, makes them viewed by other communities in the world including their distant cousins, as a proud and arrogant community who have no respect for others;

3. Given their strong social character and their business acumen, the Somali are an envy of many, more so the equally enterprising Kikuyus and Asians who view them with a deep-seated hatred;

4. Their strong adherence to the religion Al-Islam and the feeling of being the lawful custodians of the Al-Islam again makes them to be seen as a threat to other age-old religions like Christianity, Judaisim and the various forms of Asian worship:

5. The demeanor of being achievers in any place in this globe they live in, be it in Africa or elsewhere as businessmen, political personalities and executives again has drawn a deep-seated ill-feeling projected upon them in Northern America, Europe, Middle East and even at home here in Africa;

6. Their stamina to withstand tribulation and their strong coping mechanism to artificial and natural shocks has made them the envy of many who love to hate the Somali for no apparent reason but just as the old age Kiswahili adage goes ‘Hasidi hana sababu’ [Your hater need not have an excuse.]

7. When they get the opportunity to provide public leadership in Africa, Europe and America, the Somali leader is a visible personality who unfortunately becomes the envy of many. To mention just but a few fellows like Tanzanian Parliamentary Speaker Abdirahman Kinana, Tanzanian Foreign Minister Ahmed Diriye, General Mohamed of Kenya, the most transformative OAU Chairman of the cold war era who led to the liberation of Rhodesia (Zimbabwe), Angola and Mozambique; the late President Siyad Barre, the IGAD Secretary Mahboub Maalim of Kenya, Majority Jubilee party leader Aden Barre Duale, the innovative business guru President Omar Gulleid of Djabouti and President of the Ethiopian Somali region who fought generations-old secessionist the Ogaden Liberation Front Mr. Abdi Omar, the brave General Ali of Kenya, intellectuals like Dr. Umar Arte Galib, Prof. Gandhi, Dr. Rashid Abdi Aman; a Kenyan scientist, thousands of visible leaders with business empires across the five continents not forgetting Somali heroines like Ambassador Amina Mohamed among others.

8. Unfortunately here in our country Kenya, Somalis have never been viewed as bona fide citizens even after having gotten fully mainstreamed into the nation after the infamous Shifta war and many Somalis holding prime national positions since independence.

Mr. President, despite being loyal, transparent and committed public workers in Kenya, we are yet to be trusted and seen as any other citizen and the happenings of this week in Nairobi’s Eastleigh suburb, the foul and putrid comments from other Kenyan leaders, inform us to re-think our resolve of being Kenyans. Just like the Southern Sudanese who out of the marginalization they suffered from the North opted to wage an armed struggle against the North, the Somalis of Kenya, going by this trend could soon or later opt for secession from ill-willed Kenyans who have betrayed them and every morning see them as a band of evil parasites who should be gotten rid off.

The ethnophobic feelings against the Kenyan Somali have been extended with ruthlessness to our Somali brethren who sought refuge in Kenya after their country got destabilized by the post-cold war western mess in Africa. Curiously the non-Somali Kenyans do not project the same form of hatred against the Ethiopians, Sudanese, Congolese other non-Somali refugees. The government security seems to specialize in Somali subjugation, extortion, torture and killings.

It’s quite painful when Somalis get punished for all acts of terror by the Al-Qaeda and their off shoot the Al-Shabaab just because the Al-Shabaab are Somali, without caring that Somali refugees are also running away from the terror groups with more heinous attacks committed in Somalia than anywhere else. Do not forget that there could be many Kikuyus, Kambas, Luos, Mji kenda and Luhyas in the ranks of the Al-shabaab but unfortunately only the Somali bear their brunt!

It’s quite obvious that Kenyan Somalis will never be accepted in your country as citizens if you, Uhuru Kenyatta, can four decades down the line accelerate the hatred and terror your father, Mzee Jomo Kenyatta, inflicted upon the Somalis through massacres and putting them in concentration camps for the simple reason that they wanted self-determination. Indeed the reasons for secession are even stronger and justified now.

We therefore strongly ask the Somali nation in Kenya to start deliberating over their future and the sooner you take a strong position devoid of self and myopic interest, the better. I will definitely take the first step as we liberate the Somali from this unwarranted neo-colonialism so precariously hanging over their heads!

Khalif Abdi Farah alias ‘Firimbi’
Northern Forum for Democracy