East Africa news – Kenyan minister’s remark on border security baffles South Sudan and Uganda

Sources from both South Sudan and Ugandas political establishment have expressed their consternation with remarks made by Kenyas Lands Minister James Orengo before his parliamentary committee on defense and foreign relations, when he mentioned the two countries in the same context of border violations by Somalia. Claims that the respective borders were under threat will very likely prompt intense diplomatic activity in coming days as South Sudan and Uganda will be seeking clarification from the Kenyan government how they can be mentioned in the same breath as Somalia, which by all standards is a failed state with the breakaway regions of Puntland and Somaliland attempting to gain recognition as separate states while the rest of the country is ruled by the guns of militias and clans. Regular border violations by militias along the common border between Somalia and Kenya have been reported in recent months and two high profile abductions of foreigners by suspected Al Shabab militants have raised the possibility of Kenya sanctioning hot pursuit by security forces across the border, to find and hopefully free the hostages and to create a forward defense line. However, while that is understood in the region, the minister is now coming under fire for his ill considered remarks to mention South Sudan and Uganda in the Somali context, questioning just how fit he is to be a member of the Kenya government. Said a source at Ugandas foreign ministry on condition of not being named: If this report is true, and we have heard rumours about such statements, our High Commissioner would seek clarification from the Kenya government on the substance of it and only then can it be considered about our reaction. But if it were true it would also be very regrettable as Uganda has very friendly relations with Kenya and we pose no threat to any of the borders of our neighbours. There is the small issue about Migingo island in Lake Victoria and verification is going on as to the exact border line which we both inherited from the British and where demarcation is a bit difficult.
Ever heard of watch your mouth or think before you speak Bwana Minister? Not your finest hour says yours truly from across the border in Uganda.