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Experts reject Somalia claim of UAE role in Mogadishu bombing

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KEVIN J. KELLEY

By KEVIN J. KELLEY
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Experts on Somalia say they doubt the claim by the Somali government’s intelligence agency that an unnamed “foreign country” planned the December 28 attack in Mogadishu that killed scores of civilians.

The National Intelligence and Security Agency of Somalia did not name the accused country, nor did it offer evidence for its explosive claim of foreign responsibility.

But a commentator for a Turkish newspaper asserted on Sunday that “the UAE is behind the bombing in Mogadishu.”

 “Evidence left behind from the bomb vehicle that exploded in Mogadishu leads us to the UAE,” wrote Ibrahim Karagul, a senior columnist for the Yeni Safak daily. “A massacre was conducted and the traces lead us to Mohammed bin Zayed.”

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Mr Karagul did not specify what evidence he was referring to in linking the United Arab Emirates crown prince to the attack that claimed at least 81 lives.

Yeni Safak has close ties to Turkey’s ruling party and consistently expresses strong support for the country’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

But three analysts knowledgeable about Somalia’s civil war suggested on Tuesday in messages to the Nation that the Somali terrorist group al-Shabaab probably acted on its own. The experts reject the contention of UAE involvement.

 “UAE complicity in a Shabaab truck bomb attack seems extremely unlikely,” US-based author Prof Ken Menkhaus wrote in an email on Tuesday.

 “UAE is staunchly opposed to Shabaab and everything it stands for.”

The Somalia specialist added, “Al-Shabaab already has years of expertise in assembly of car and truck bombs. Why would it need help from any foreign government?”

In addition, a spokesman for Turkey’s ruling party made no mention of the UAE in a statement on Tuesday that explicitly condemned al-Shabaab,

At the same time, there are indications that the UAE has acted in ways beneficial to Shabaab.

A United Nations report last year estimated the wholesale value in the UAE of illicit Somali charcoal exports to be $150 million a year.

Shabaab has reaped considerable profits from the charcoal trade which is prohibited under UN sanctions.

The UAE’s ambassador to the UN did not comment on that finding, but she did tell the Reuters news agency that her country is “in full compliance” with sanctions related to Somalia.

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Relations between the governments of Somalia and the Emirates, formerly close allies, have also deteriorated markedly in recent months.

The UAE abruptly ended its capacity-building and humanitarian aid programmes for Somalia in April after Somali authorities confiscated nearly $10 million in cash aboard a UAE airplane in Mogadishu.

The Emirates said the money was intended to cover the salaries of hundreds of Somali government soldiers whom it had been paying for years.

The UAE has also been displeased with the Somalia government’s diplomatic support for rival Gulf state Qatar.

Turkey, now a major benefactor of the Somalia government, has been aligned with Qatar and against the UAE in a dispute that has roiled the Arab world.

Two Turkish citizens were among the dead in the December 28 attack in Somalia’s capital.

But these are not sufficient reasons to link the UAE to the terrorist outrage in Somalia, says Joshua Meservey, a Horn analyst at the Heritage Foundation think tank in Washington.

 “I find the claim of UAE’s involvement implausible,” Mr Meservey told the Nation. “It has bad relations with Mogadishu at the moment, but it still makes no sense that the UAE would partner with an avowed enemy (al-Shabaab), and particularly not for an attack that has no strategic benefit for the UAE.”

Noting that an Istanbul-based publication is the source of the allegation, Mr Meservey added that Turkey “would delight in a chance to embarrass or discredit the Emiratis in a region in which both countries (and others) are competing for influence.”

 “So I suspect the accusation of foreign involvement in the attack is a way for Mogadishu to please its patrons.”

Stig Jarle Hansen, the Norway-based author of a history of al-Shabaab, also placed the claim of UAE involvement in the context of Somalia’s friendly ties with Turkey and frosty relations with the Emirates.

Mr Hansen noted that the UAE has refrained from attacking civilians even while it has been waging war in Yemen. “I think this is Shabaab,” he declared in regard to the Mogadishu bombing.

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KENGEN’s Olkaria Geothermal Plant Lower Evacuation Costs Causes Competitor To Lower Electricity Tariff

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Kengen’s Olkaria Geothermal plant which has low evacuation costs hence providing low power tariff to its customers has ignited its competitor to reduce its power tariff to set up factories in the Special Economic Zone (SEZ) in Olkaria, Naivasha.

The Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority (EPRA) said it had approved the tariff deal for the large industries that will set up base in the special zone.

The KenGen Green Energy Industrial Park, which has four zones had set the pace by offering direct connection to cheap electricity in addition to the connection to Mombasa port via the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) line.

KenGen recently moved to diversify its revenue streams by inviting investors to set up export-only textile and apparels plants on the 309-acre industrial zone in Naivasha.

It said the Olkaria property is divided into four plots: Site A (70 acres), Site B (82 acres), Site C (100 acres) and 57 acres reserved for Site D.

“Under the lease, the manufacturing/processing firms (locators) will be supplied with utilities such as geothermal steam and brine (hot water) as well as raw water,” said the electricity producer. Factories around the SEZ will also be served by the just-completed Naivasha-Nairobi-Mombasa Standard Gauge Railway (SGR), easing connectivity.

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This will enable them to import raw materials which will be delivered directly to their factories and later have manufactured products exported to other countries like Europe and the Americas with ease due to access to the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport as well as the Port of Mombasa.

Among the targeted companies are the labour intensive export-only textile and apparels plants. Kenya has been expanding and simplifying the tax incentives it offers for investment in special economic zones in a bid to attract investment into those zones.

In July 2019, the government designated 9,000 acres of land in Naivasha, Mombasa, and Machakos as SEZs in efforts to boost manufacturing. The SEZs are designated areas aimed at promoting and facilitating export-oriented investments. Kenya recently improved its global ranking among the world’s largest geothermal powerhouses after it completed the testing of the first unit of the Olkaria V project.

The 82.7 megawatts project pushed Kenya above Iceland to position eight in the global rankings as the country continues its advancement towards green energy. “We are delighted to announce the completion of the first unit of Olkaria V geothermal power plant and subsequently injecting 79 megawatts to the national grid,” said KenGen Managing Director Rebecca Miano last year.

 

 

 

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Moi’s body leaves funeral home

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The body of former president Daniel Moi has left Lee Funeral Home for Parliament Buildings.

Kenyans of all walks of life will have three days from Saturday to Monday to view the body, which will be lying in state at Parliament Buildings.

Head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua said President Uhuru Kenyatta will be the first to view the body at State House on Saturday at 10.15 am.

The body will leave the Lee Funeral Home at 8 am with the casket draped in the national flag.

The funeral procession is snaking through Valley Road to Kenyatta Avenue and on to Parliament Road after which a military parade will be mounted in his honour.

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President Kenyatta’s tribute to former leader Daniel Moi

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UHURU KENYATTA

By UHURU KENYATTA
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It is with a heavy heart and a profound sense of personal loss that I make this tribute, in honour of the life of President Daniel Toroitich arap Moi, who rested on the early hours of Tuesday February 4, 2020.

Today, as the solemn procession of the late President Moi proceeds through the streets of our Nation’s capital, to lie-in-state at Parliament buildings; we commence the final journey of a great son of Kenya, a cherished brother, a loving father, a mentor to many, a father of our nation, a champion of Pan-Africanism, and the Second President of the Republic of Kenya.

The question that we all should ask ourselves is: “How does one mourn an iconic leader?” A leader who spent almost his entire life in service to our nation, whose story of heroism, sacrifice and service, began in the pre-independence era.

How is a man who achieved so much more than is expected in a lifetime – be celebrated? 

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What would be a befitting send off or national honour for a man who built Kenya, in large part by the works of his hands?

A man who, together with other iconic leaders, helped Shepherd our Country out of the shackles of Colonial Rule; and into the Freedom and Self Determination of our modern independent State.

How else can a grateful Nation celebrate the life of a man whose calm and steady hand reassured a young Nation and her Allies, during the peaceful transition into the Second Administration?

The sun has set on a truly extraordinary man.

A masterful yet thoughtful leader.

A suave yet firm Diplomat.

One who served the nation with dignity and honour.

One whose wisdom and diplomatic finesse kept Kenya, both relevant and neutral, even as the whole world was in the grips of the Cold War.

“A passing cloud” that served with distinction for 24 years. A decisive and courageous Commander-in Chief of formidable achievements, who chose well and always put the country first. 

A balanced leader who during the clamour for multipartisym, on listening to both sides – chose well, setting the stage for national rebirth through the reintroduction of multiparty politics.

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A tactful leader, who during the quest for a new constitutional order, listened and quietly chose what was best for the country.

A visionary leader who, in 2002, when his party – and, I as their candidate – lost the Presidential election, left office with a gracious last word of advice to those who, thereafter, took up the heavy responsibilities he had borne for a quarter of a century.

Today, we to celebrate the life of a patriot who wherever in Kenya he found himself, he would calm fears and raise the hopes of everyone who heard him. 

No part of Kenya was strange to him, and nor were her citizens. Deep in his D.N.A, he understood and prized our culture and national character.

To his last day in office as President, he remained committed and ready to defend Africa and her people. He believed, deeply, that we had the answers to the questions that troubled our continent.

Our Nation is not alone in mourning the passing of President Daniel Toroitich arap Moi. The whole of Africa is mourning with us. We continue to receive messages of sympathy and admiration for the life and service of Mzee Moi from around the world.

We celebrate the life of a teacher for life and a mentor to many – myself included. One whose ingenuity bequeath our Nation many projects.

President Moi was a mortal man, whose works and legacy are immortal. The Republic of Kenya, the community of East Africa and the great continent of Africa, bears his indelible mark, which, I am convinced, will endure long into the future.

May Mzee Moi’s memory live as long as our Republic endures; and may we, to whom he has left the care of the Republic, prove ourselves worthy of his bequest.

We commit Mzee Moi’s Soul to the Almighty God, thanking the Creator for sending to us His Servant, whom after nearly a century of selfless and steadfast service, now rests in His Glory and his well-deserved reward.

God bless you and our beloved Nation – Kenya.

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