Lobby group Foundation for Dialogue and 19 individuals want the government stopped from defending a case filed by Somalia against Kenya at the International Court of Justice (ICJ), arguing that the suit is a well-laid-out plan to hand over oil blocs in the Indian Ocean to Mogadishu.
The petitioners argue that treaties and laws that Kenya agreed to between 1965 and 2009 removed maritime boundaries from the list of issues that can be determined at the ICJ.
They add that a 2009 memorandum of understanding between Kenya and Somalia resolved to have any maritime boundary disputes between the two nations resolved through negotiations and bilateral talks.
On Wednesday, the ICJ announced that it would hear the Kenya-Somalia maritime border dispute between September 9 and 13. Somalia will present its case, then Kenya will get equal time to respond to the issues raised.
The border dispute has strained ties between the two countries, which have enjoyed cordial relations for decades. Last month, Somalia’s junior minister for Water and Energy, Mr Osman Liban, and legislators Ilyas Ali Hassan and Zamzam Dahir, were denied entry to Nairobi, where they were to attend the launch of a European Union-sponsored, cross-border conflict management programme, for lacking visas.
Kenyan authorities ignored the fact that they had diplomatic passports, an indication of how vicious the battle for the maritime territories has become.
Blocs for sale
Documents indicate that Somalia has put up for auction five oil blocs in the disputed area, and promised any takers that exploration can begin as early as January 1, 2020.
Mogadishu is to earn 15 per cent of the proceeds in royalties. But Somalia denies this.
Somalia filed the case in 2014, but Kenya protested, citing the treaties and the 2009 MOU.
By a majority decision on February 2, 2015, the ICJ ruled that it would hear and determine the suit.