The National Assembly has waded into the Kenya-Somalia maritime border row and wants the government to, among other measures, deploy the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) to protect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Kenya.
In a bold demonstration of the House unity over the dispute, Majority Leader Aden Duale and his minority counterpart John Mbadi tabled a jointly-signed notice of motion to discuss the matter.
The lawmakers proceed for their one-month recess from Thursday and the Clerk of the National Assembly Michael Sialai told the Nation that the matter will be discussed when Parliament resumes.
In a motion filed on Tuesday, the two want the government to explore other lawful and constitutional mechanisms to protect Kenyan territory.
In the notice, Mr Duale and Mr Mbadi want the boundary dispute to be resolved through diplomacy and dispute resolution mechanisms available under African Union (AU), Intergovernmental Authority on Development (Igad) and East African Community (EAC).
Mr Duale and Mbadi want Igad and EAC to be the first point of call on such disputes and not the International Court of Justice (ICJ) where Somalia has taken the matter.
The two leaders also want the Kenya government to engage the Federal Government of Somalia to solve the maritime boundary row. Mr Duale and Mr Mbadi also want the Kenya government to register its protest to the United Nations.
“This House resolves that the Government of the Republic of Kenya explores other lawful and constitutional mechanisms for protecting the territory of the Republic, including deploying the KDF to the subject boundary to undertake the responsibility of protecting the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Republic as contemplated under Article 241(3) of the Constitution,” reads part of the signed motion.
Somalia sued Kenya at the ICJ, seeking to redraw the maritime boundary from the current eastward flow from the land border south of Kiunga, to a diagonal flow.
If the court agrees with Somalia, Kenya could lose up to 100,000 square kilometres of sea thought to contain huge amounts of hydrocarbons.
The hearing of the dispute between the two countries will start on September 9 and run through to September 13 at the ICJ at The Hague, the Netherlands.
Kenya insists that the marine boundary is determined by a parallel line of latitude to the east, as per the standards set by the colonial powers, which were adopted in the marine borders between Kenya and Tanzania, Tanzania and Mozambique and Mozambique and South Africa.
Before then, bilateral negotiations had dragged on for six years without success.
Kenya has argued, both in court and outside, that the case should never have been filed because there were alternative means that had not been exhausted.
Market oil stocks
Kenya has also accused Somalia of continuing to market oil stocks to investors even though the area is still contested.
It accused Mogadishu of using illegal maps that encroached on the Kenyan side. However, Somalia has denied encroaching on Kenyan land.