Kenya and US Sign groundbreaking defence pact

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Kenya and the United States have taken a significant step forward in their partnership to combat terrorism and enhance security by signing a groundbreaking defence pact.

The agreement, which covers the period from 2023 to 2028, was signed by Kenya’s Defence Minister, Aden Duale, and his US counterpart, Lloyd Austin, at the Defence headquarters in Nairobi.

Kenya and US Sign groundbreaking defence pact
US Secretary of Defence Lloyd J Austin and Defence CS Aden Duale during a joint press conference in Nairobi on September 25, 2023.
Image: ENOS TECHE

The defence framework represents a major milestone in the bilateral commitment to peace and stability in the region. It reflects the shared values of both countries, emphasizing their commitment to democracy and stability on a larger scale. The framework focuses on enhancing military interoperability, recognizing the importance of seamless collaboration between the two militaries in an increasingly complex and interconnected world.

One of the key objectives of the defence pact is to enable Kenya and the United States to effectively respond to evolving security challenges not only in the region but also beyond. Kenya has long been a contributor to international peacekeeping efforts, and this collaboration ensures that the country receives the necessary support and resources for its operational deployments. By actively participating in global peace and security, Kenya demonstrates its commitment to safeguarding the well-being of nations worldwide.

The discussions surrounding the defence framework have also opened up new avenues for cooperation in the fields of defence technology and innovation. Both Kenya and the United States recognize the importance of harnessing technology to enhance security measures and improve counterterrorism operations. This collaboration will promote the sharing of expertise and resources, leading to advancements in defence technologies and the development of innovative solutions to address emerging security challenges.

The signing of this defence pact is not only a symbolic gesture but also a tangible manifestation of the shared vision for a better tomorrow. The partnership between Kenya and the United States is grounded in a common purpose – to navigate the challenges that lie ahead and work towards a safer and more secure world. By joining forces, both countries can leverage their respective strengths and resources to effectively combat terrorism and promote peace and stability.

Austin emphasized the importance of the strategic partnership between Kenya and the US, stating that it will guide their bilateral relationship for the next five years. He expressed his anticipation for future meetings with President William Ruto to discuss further partnerships. Austin also acknowledged the valuable role that Kenya plays in regional and international efforts to ensure stability, and announced that the US will provide Sh14.5 billion to support Kenya’s police-led peacekeeping effort in Haiti.

In order to ensure the success of the police mission, Austin highlighted that the Biden administration is committed to providing comprehensive support, including logistics, intelligence, communication, and medical assistance. He called upon other countries to follow Kenya’s example and contribute what is necessary to maintain stability in Haiti. The plan to deploy police in Haiti is currently awaiting approval from the UN Security Council.

Regarding Somalia, Austin commended the military for making significant progress in containing al Shabaab. However, he stressed that more needs to be done to empower civilians and address security challenges within local communities. While Somali forces have achieved impressive advancements in their fight against al Shabaab, Austin cautioned that there are still areas where terrorism can proliferate due to lack of governance.

During his visit to Africa as Defence Secretary, Austin met with Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud in Djibouti on Sunday. This meeting reflects his commitment to engaging with key African leaders and addressing security concerns on the continent.

A tragic incident occurred in the central Somali town of Beledweyne, where a truck bombing near a security checkpoint resulted in the loss of 21 lives and left 52 individuals injured on Saturday. Despite efforts by Somali forces to combat terrorism, attacks persist.

In light of the recent surge in violence, Somali officials have requested a 90-day extension for the planned withdrawal of African Union peacekeepers. They believe that this delay is necessary to address what they describe as “several significant setbacks”.

The current plan is for approximately 3,000 African Union troops to withdraw from Somalia by the end of this month, with all remaining forces scheduled to leave by the end of next year. However, there are concerns that prematurely withdrawing support or not allocating sufficient resources to counter Islamic extremists in Africa could result in terror groups gaining control over Somalia—a situation reminiscent of the Taliban’s resurgence during the US military’s withdrawal from Afghanistan.

It is imperative that careful consideration be given to avoid repeating past mistakes and prevent further destabilization in Somalia. The international community must continue its commitment of resources and support to ensure lasting peace and stability in the region.

The defence pact between Kenya and the United States reinforces the importance of international cooperation in tackling global security threats. It is an affirmation of the strong bond between the two nations and their commitment to standing together in the face of adversity. This groundbreaking agreement sets a precedent for future collaborations and partnerships in the realm of defence, setting the stage for enhanced security measures and more effective counterterrorism.

Ericson Mangoli
Ericson Mangoli is the founder and Managing Editor of Who Owns Africa, a platform for African journalism that focuses on politics, governance, and business. Mangoli is passionate about African stories and believes that media has a crucial role to play in driving the continent's development. In his work, he strives to promote accuracy and objective reporting on Africa.

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