At the 27th African Union Summit held in Kigali, Rwanda, member states adopted a new funding model. The proposal by Dr Donald Kaberuka to institute an import levy of 0,2% on ‘eligible’ imports’ is widely hailed as a historic step forward for the organization and its ambitions to become independent and self-reliant. If implemented as expected, the Kaberuka model will fund the AU general budget and its programmes and is expected to raise approximately USD 1,2 billion beginning in 2017. Starting in 2017, each of the continent’s regions have committed to paying USD 65 m into the AU Peace Fund, which will enable Africa to fund 25% of the costs of AU peace operations. While this decision is imperative, I would like in this article to reflect on some of the broader challenges and trends in Africa’s security governance.
CategoryWar on Terror
Kenya has witnessed series of terrorist attacks since the year 2011 when its soldiers began operation in Somalia dubbed: Operation Linda Nchi (Operation protect the nation). The most recent attacks, was the Likoni church attack on March 23rd 2014 and in Nairobi’s Eastleigh estate on March 31st 2014 – each of which left behind 6 casualties. The Alshabaab has not claimed responsibility in any of them but following that, the government launched Operation Usalama Watch (Operation Peace Watch) on April 2 in a bid to alleviate the threat of terrorism from the country once and for all.
“The bloody Shabaab attack on Nairobi’s Westgate shopping mall on September 21 was an act of desperation by a jihadi group beset by internal power struggles and plummeting support”, argues Somalia expert Ken Menkhaus in a blog post. The intent according to him is to stir up anti-Somali sentiments amongst Kenyans. Kenyans may thereby turn violent and target exiled Somalis in Kenya. If Somali’s are brutalized in great numbers Al-Shabaab hope to be seen as the true protectors of Somalis – in opposition to the Somali government which is seen as conniving with the Kenyan government. This is indeed a high risk plan by a movement that has over the past few years lost much of its previous power.
Very little is known of Al-Shabaab. There are many “experts” guessing, experts citing other experts’ guesses, thus producing a lot of half-truths. An exception to this is the recent book on Al-Shabaab in Somalia (Hurst 2013). It offers a deep and detailed reading of the movement. Below is a review that I recently did on the book. I am not seeking to legitimate the horrendous crime that the attack on the Westgate mall is, but see it as crucial getting a better understanding of what Al-Shabaab really is and Jarle Hansen’s book really helps us here:
Review of Al-Shabaab in Somalia: the history and ideology of a militant Islamist group, 2005-2012, by Stig Jarle Hansen