Eastleigh

Somali community in Nairobi unites to address challenges

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Speakers called on the unity of the community in combating issues affecting them, reiterated their commitment to national unity and work with the government for the betterment of Kenya.

Thousands of members of the Somali community in Nairobi gathered on Saturday to discuss issues affecting their community. The event, held at Eastleigh High School and organised by the Eastleigh Business District Association (EBDA), drew students, Islamic leaders, politicians, and other community members.

The meeting addressed among others the recent social media attacks suggesting that the success of the Somali community threatens the prosperity of other communities. These allegations have caused concern within the community.

Speakers called on the unity of the community in combating issues affecting them, reiterated their commitment to national unity and work with the government for the betterment of Kenya.

Chairman of Eastleigh Business District Association Ahmed Abdullahi addressing the gathering at Eastleigh High School. (Photo: Ahmed Shafat)

EBDA Chairman Ahmed Abdullahi emphasised the need for unity and defence of Eastleigh as it is the business heartbeat and home to many in the community.

He noted that Eastleigh has often been targeted by anti-Somali sentiment due to its success.

Ahmed highlighted the community's efforts to maintain peace and security in Eastleigh. He mentioned that during the anti-finance bill demonstrations, the community worked closely with security forces to protect the area. He also pointed out that Eastleigh, which used to experience insecurity during the Christmas period, remained peaceful last year due to the efforts of the subcounty security committee.

"The good relationship between the community members and the subcounty security committee succeeded in making Eastleigh peaceful," Ahmed said.

Women and students from diverse schools within Eastleigh were also present. (Photo: Ahmed Shafat)

Islamic scholar Sheikh Abdirizak Jiir who was among the speakers at the event, stressed the importance of national unity. He reminded the community that they are as much a part of Kenya as any other group.

"We are not anyone's guest in this country. We own it just like other communities also own Kenya," he said.

Sheikh Abdirizak highlighted the community's contributions to Kenya's stability. He recalled the actions of General Mohamud Haji Barrow, former Chief of General Staff, who played a crucial role in thwarting a military coup in 1982, preserving the nation's stability.

He also mentioned General Mohammed Hussein Ali, who, as Police Commissioner in 2007, helped prevent the country from descending into chaos during the post-election violence, supporting then-President Mwai Kibaki.

Asha Ibrahim, EBDA advisor and a respected businesswoman addressed the gathering. (Photo: Ahmed Shafat)

The speakers criticised some government officials for spreading anti-Somali propaganda. This criticism came in light of recent remarks by Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua.

During a press briefing in Mombasa last month, Gachagua criticised Noordin Haji, the National Intelligence Service (NIS) Director General, for allegedly not informing President William Ruto about rising anti-government protests adequately.

These protests have led to deaths and property destruction.

Gachagua's comments were seen as an attack on one of the community's top leaders. The community defended Haji, stating that he was fulfilling his duties.

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