By Henry D Gombya
The United Kingdom today stands accused of ‘humiliating’ the leaders of two countries that have made peace possible in what was until only recently a failed Horn of Africa country that comes under the name of Somalia, by making sure that they were not photographed alongside British Prime Minister David Cameron.
After the failure of what was once the world’s only super power, the United States of America (USA) to bring order to a battle-ridden Somalia, and after the failure of Ethiopia under the leadership of the late Prime Minister Zenawi to do the same, in came Uganda under the leadership of President Yoweri Museveni who sent in Ugandan soldiers to take on the Somali fighting tribes, especially the al Qaeda-leaning Al Shabaab.
While other countries like Burundi have also played their part in stabilising Somalia, Ugandan’s leading role is unmistakeable. And less than two years ago, Kenya joined in when former President Mwai Kibaki ordered his troops to take on the Al Shabaab. It could be fair to argue that without the input that these East African countries have displayed, Somalia would today still be a failed state with warring armies controlling different parts of the country.
At yesterday’s Somalia conference, the Kenyan and Ugandan leaders were largely ignored and British officials went out of their way to make sure that British Prime Minister David Cameron was not photographed with any of them. And with Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, it was certainly embarrassing that a leader who has just come to power through a rare free and fair election in Africa could not be offered a photo opportunity with the British Prime Minister after he (Kenyatta) made Britain the first country he has accepted to visit since his election last March.