Economic implications should Kenya shut military pact with UK over Wanjiru’s case

Economic implications should Kenya shut military pact with UK over Wanjiru’s case

Kenyan legislatures have threatened to wind up the Kenya-UK military agreement should the perpetrator in Agnes Wanjiru’s case fails to surrender and be prosecuted under Kenyan law.

This comes at a time when Kenya is supposed to renew the agreement for another five years after expiry.

This would mean that the British military camp in Nanyuki would have to be winded up.

The National Assembly Defence and Foreign Relations Committee has already told the Defence Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa that they could protest in solidarity with Wanjiru’s family in the chamber should justice fail to be served.

“We have this draft agreement between Kenya and UK. We have a long-standing relation with the UK. We are looking at an agreement that has lapsed and requires renewal. Unfortunately when we are about to do the renewal this subject of Agnes Wanjiru comes up,” said Mandera North MP Bashir Abdullahi.

“Until we have concrete evidence to suggest that the Kenyan government is looking into this matter and the culprit will be brought to book under the Kenyan justice system, only then we will we append our signature on the defense cooperation pact.”

Economic Implications?

Shutting down the agreement means Kenya stands to lose Ksh.9 billion, a part of defence pact that the UK renewed in July this year to allow its troops to continue training at Nanyuki.

The new Defence Co-operation Agreement (DCA) was signed in London by the then Defence secretary Monica Juma, and her UK counterpart Ben Wallace on the sidelines of President Uhuru Kenyatta’s three-day official tour to the country.

“Kenya has long been our defence partner of choice in East Africa and, in a more uncertain world, we will continue to stand shoulder-to-shoulder as we tackle the threats of tomorrow,” said the UK Defence secretary following the signing of the pact.

The agreement is supposed to take effect after ratification by both the UK and Kenya parliaments.

The multibillion training pact between the two was last renewed in 2015 and has in the past been dogged by allegation of gross human rights violation by British troops.

The training camp employs 550 locals, and has contributed over Ksh.5.8 billion to the economies of Laikipia, Samburu and Isiolo since 2016.

United Kingdom under the deal invests Ksh.1.16 billion annually under the deal.

Over 1,100 Kenyan soldiers are also trained by the UK every year, in preparation for deployment to Somalia.

“Overall our cooperation continues to significantly improve the ability of our forces to operate effectively in high-threat environments,” said Juma in a statement.

This could be let go if UK fails to surrender the perpetrator in Wanjiru’s murder should Kenyan MPs move to shut the military agreement.

According to a report by the Standard, Parliamentary legal team in a brief to the Committee on Criminal Jurisdiction on the previous treaty states that “visiting forces shall be subject to abide by and respect the Constitution, laws and regulations of the host nation at all times.”

According to Saku MP Raso Dido, the chair of the Committee, the military camp is of great benefit to the Kenyan economy, and asked CS Wamalwa not to let the matter slip out his hands when they reiterated their demand for justice for Wanjiru.

 “What we are raising with you is that let this MoU not trigger such cases. The onus is on them if they are ready to accept the terms of this MoU,” said Dido.

“This MoU has been violated. The British, their main base is in Nanyuki, but what happens if the people decide to demonstrate every day; it will become a risk to both them and the people there.”

Yatta MP Charles Kilonzo said that even those involved in the alleged cover up of the killing have to be brought to book.

Responding to the Committee, CS Wamlaway said that “British government are ready and willing to cooperate with Kenya to ensure that the culprits are investigated and brought to book,”

Wanjiru’s case dates back to 2012 when her body was found lying lifeless at a hotel in Nayuki town. A British soldier confessed to having killed Wanjiru.

The Kenyan government has already re-opened the case, ten years after, and the Inspector General of Police Hilary Mutyambai has already directed the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) to speed up investigations

“I have directed the DCI to re-open the case and compile all the available evidence and witness accounts and ensure the case is concluded before a court of law. I am also urging the UK government to collaborate with us to conclude the case and administer justice,” said Mutyambai.

The British High Commission on Sunday said it was “fully cooperating” with a police investigation into the 2012 murder of a Kenyan woman last seen with a British soldier.

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Lawrence Baraza is a prolific writer with competencies in Digital Media, Print, and Broadcast. Baraza is also a Communication Practitioner currently spearheading Digital content on Metropol TV's Digital Desk.

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