By Cyrus Ombati
The Leader of Majority in National Assembly Adan Duale has controversially said Kenya is ready to negotiate with Somalia’s terrorist group Al-Shabaab for the sake of peace.
Duale said they are ready to send elders and religious leaders to lead in the negotiations.
“If you want us to send you elders, and religious leaders will do so. If you want is to send you political leaders, we will do so. Just tell us where we should come to meet you but give Kenya a wide berth,” he said in Somali dialect.
He later defended his remarks and accused the Somalia leadership of lacking goodwill in containing the terror group.
“What I said I that we know there are some elders here from the clans where members of Alshabaab come from and the message to them is that they should leave us (Kenyans) alone.”
“It’s also becoming clear that the government of Somali and Sheikh Hassan is not willing to combat militants and thus were are asking the President to seek AU and IGAD mandate for Kenyan forces to operate from Lamu to border one point in Mandera,” he said on the phone.
And he later posted a message on his tweeter account contradicting with what he had earlier said.
“We have never and shall never negotiate with terrorists, bandits, militants and drug dealers,” read part of his tweet long after his earlier remarks had been played on BBC Somali.
Duale told Al Shabaab in the audio: “What you want to achieve in Somalia is up to you. But leave Kenyans alone from your attacks. Give us a wide berth.
Somalis are living in freedom and peace in Kenya and we practice our religion freely. Our children are allowed to dress modestly. We are allowed to build our own mosques and schools.”
He added Somalis have big role in the government and after many years of marginalisation from the government and being called Shifta they now have a significant stake in the current government. “Don’t bring us your troubles,”
“Whatever problem you have in Somalia leave us Kenyans out of it. Keep your hands off Garissa, keep your hands off Wajir and Mandera. Keep your hands of Eastleigh. Keep your hands off our businesses. Keep your hands off our women and children. Don’t cause us to be displaced.
“Give a wide berth to Nairobi, give a wide berth to Machakos, and give a wide berth to all Kenyan towns,” he said.
He argued Somalis are in a good position in Kenya, politically, economically but if everyday Al-Shabaab attack Kenyans, they say it is Somalis who are conducting attacks blaming all of Somalis.
Duale was leading a group of MPs from Garissa County who condemned the attack against Mandera Governor Ali Roba. He spoke in Somali language.
The MPs accused the government of failing to contain insecurity and attacks by Al Shabaab in North Eastern Kenya, which has suffered the highest number of violent attacks from the militant group.
His statements came barely 24 hours after Al shabaab had attacked a convoy of Mandera Governor Ali Roba killing four people and injured eight others.
“We are passing this message to Al Shabaab through BBC because we know they listen to BBC,” he said.
The offer made by Duale has gone viral in pro-Al Shabaab websites. Kenyans on Twitter criticised the offer.
Duale has since denied that his statement meant that Kenya was willing to negotiate with Al-Shabaab.
The terror group has been blamed for a number of attacks in Kenya since 2011.