The African Union on Saturday stood by Mozambican diplomat Francisco Madeira, the head of the continental body’s mission to Somalia, after he was initially ‘expelled’ from the country.
The expulsion, which has since been cancelled by President Mohamed Farmaajo, was controversially issued on Thursday by Prime Minister Hussein Roble who accused the diplomat of engaging in acts contrary to his position as the special representative of the AU Chairperson in Somalia.
Madeira was declared persona non-grata, and given 48 hours to leave the country.
But AU Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat reaffirmed his “trust and confidence” in his Special Representative.
“The Chairperson reiterated the African Union’s continued commitment to support the sisterly nation of the Federal Republic of Somalia in its pursuant to restore lasting peace, security and stability,” a statement from the AU said on Saturday.
After PM Roble’s declaration, President Farmaajo stated, “There is no authentication by the President of the Republic in regards acts against Ambassador Madeira,” adding that Somalia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs had not submitted reports indicating that Madeira opposed the independence of the country.
Madeira got into trouble after an audio clip emerged in which a voice claimed to be his was criticising senior political leaders in the country amid the rise in terror attacks and delayed elections.
Nevertheless, some important political sections in Somalia supported the position of the prime minister.
On Friday, the President of Jubbaland State, Ahmed Mohamed Islam Madobe, strongly supported PM Roble’s move to expel Madeira from Somalia as the beef took political leanings.
Madobe, in a statement from Jubbaland’s presidency in Kismayu town, 500 km south of Mogadishu, accused Madeira of interfering with the affairs of Somalia and acting negatively on the operation of the African Union peacekeepers.
“During the time he was at the helm of the AU peacekeepers (AMISOM) in Somalia, Madeira was acting like a political broker in the country,” said Jubbaland’s statement, adding that the envoy was a supporter of the Somali government deployment of forces in Gedo region.
Gedo region is one of the three regions that form part of the Jubbaland State, but its inhabitants largely oppose Madobe’s administration in Kismayu town, the interim state capital.
Hence, Madobe is at loggerheads with Farmaajo over the Gedo region issues.
In a similar fashion, the Coalition of the (opposition) Presidential Candidates (CPC) expressed their support for PM Roble’s move against Ambassador Madeira.
On Friday, the CPC issued a statement welcoming PM Roble’s press statement with the subject matter labelling Madeira as persona non grata.
The CPC’s statement said, “The prime minister’s decision was wisely articulated and stated in a manner that safeguarded the independence of the country.”
CPC is composed of over a dozen top politicians. It is chaired by Former President Sharif Sheikh Ahmed and includes another Former President Hassan Sheikh Mohamoud, ex-Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khaire, former ministers and other top politicians.
Last week, soon after learning about PM Roble’s order to expel Madeira from the country, President Farmaajo instructed the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to discharge its functions by letting the AU Commission know that the said decision affecting the ambassador is not a universally adopted one by the organs of the State of Somalia.
“The said order (to expel Madeira) had been issued by an office with no powers to act alone on such [a] weighty issue,” the statement by Villa Somalia said.
“Madeira and other ambassadors in Somalia present their credentials to the President of the Republic who is the guardian of the independence of the country.”