In a wide-ranging conversation with BBC’s Stephen Sackur HARDtalk show, Deputy President William Ruto has maintained Kenya’s commitment to fighting terrorism.
However, Dr Ruto stated that terrorism is an international matter that calls for international co-operation and commitment. Here is the excerpt.
Fifteen people were murdered. Why is the Kenyan government seemingly incapable of eliminating the threat posed by Al-Shabaab and the jihadists?
RUTO: Terrorism is an international challenge. No country in the world has ever claimed to eliminate terrorism. We keep working on it. What I can tell you, Stephen, is that we are getting better at dealing with this challenge. If the response of the Dusit D2 attack was anything to go by, the response time was seven minutes, all systems were there. In fact, in our opinion, we scuttled what these characters wanted to achieve and minimised what they managed to achieve.
SACKUR: Is it true, as reported in the Kenyan media, that there were multiple warnings passed to your govern
RUTO: These are routine alerts, and we took those alerts seriously. And we continue to take alerts seriously and that’s why we have managed to contain that situation to a minimum.
SACKUR: You referred to Kenya’s commitment to the UN presence in Somalia and of course Kenya launched its own massive military operation inside Somalia in 2011. So, for many years, Kenya has been committed to trying to deliver security in Somalia. It has to be said that all of those years, all of the resources and the commitment, it’s not working. So, what is your long-term strategy for Somalia?
RUTO: We have taken the position that this is not a Kenyan decision to make. This is a Kenyan and international decision. We are responsible partners under Amisom. We will work with other countries, the initiative under the UN, to make sure we secure Somalia. We have vested interest as Kenya because these are our neighbours.
SACKUR: If I may shorthand it, you are telling me that your military commitment in Somalia is open-ended; indefinite.
RUTO: It is indefinite until we are certain that Somalia is safe. Until Somalia is safe, it will be reckless for us to walk away from a threat that threatens our country.