Kenya has protested the ruling on the maritime border between Nairobi and Mogadishu slated for October 12 at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) whose ruling could have a serious ramification on the logistics industry in Eastern Africa.
Last week, Kenya announced the withdrawal of its recognition of the International Court of Justice's compulsory jurisdiction, a move seen by pundits as preempting of the judgment that will be made tomorrow.
In a statement, Kenya’s Foreign Affairs Principal Secretary Macharia Kamau said the country will not recognise ICJ's judgment on the Kenya-Somalia maritime dispute.
"The delivery of the judgment will be the culmination of a flawed judicial process that Kenya has had reservations with, and withdrawn from, on account not just of its obvious and inherent bias but also of its unsuitability to resolve the dispute at hand," Ambassador Kamau said.
Amb Macharia said as a sovereign nation, Kenya shall no longer be subjected to an international court or tribunal without its express consent.
The rulings by ICJ are binding, though the court has no enforcement powers and countries have been known to ignore its verdicts.
Kenya withdrew from the ICJ case in March citing procedural unfairness at the court, betrayal and external interference, among other reasons.
In 2014, Somalia asked the ICJ to rule on the case after out-of-court negotiations between the two countries aimed at settling the dispute broke down.
In February 2017, the court ruled it had the right to adjudicate on the case as judges rejected Kenya’s claim that a 2009 agreement between the neighbours amounted to a commitment to settle the matter out of court, stripping the ICJ of jurisdiction.
Somalia claims its maritime boundary should run in the same direction as the southeasterly path of the country’s land border, while Kenya argues the border should take a 45-degree turn at the shoreline and run in a latitudinal line.
The maritime dispute has already had an impact on diplomatic and trade ties between Kenya and Somalia.
In March last year, Somalia banned the import of khat, a multi-billion stimulant plant that Kenya normally exports to Mogadishu, arguing the prohibition was to contain the spread of coronavirus, however, khat, popularly referred to as miraa in Kenya, from Ethiopia were not stopped.
In December 2020, Somalia ordered all its diplomats in Nairobi to return home and ordered their Kenyan counterparts to leave within seven days.
A steady climb in shipping rates witnessed since March 2020 showed signs of easing this October for the first time in over a year. The freight cost on the busy Shanghai-Los Angeles trade route for a 40-foot container sank by almost $1,000 last week to $11,173, representing a decline of eight percent, which analysts say is the steepest fall since March 2020.
The cost of transporting cargo has dropped to levels last seen in 2009 as transporters continue to grapple with low volumes of freight at the port of Mombasa. The decline in cargo has been attributed to the high cost of shipping, occasioned by a shortage of containers globally, which has seen traders cut down on imports.
The containerised cargo dwell time at the port of Mombasa improved in quarter two of this year but remained below the December 2022 set target, according to Northern Corridor Transport Observatory quarterly report.An analysis by the agency shows that it took cargo an average of three days to be evacuated from the Port of Mombasa in the quarter ending June 2021.