Kenya denies Somalia's accusations after envoy forced out

Monday November 30 2020
Mohamed Farmaajo and Uhuru Kenyatta.

Somali President Mohamed Farmaajo and Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta at a past press conference in Nairobi. PHOTO | FILE | NMG


Kenya on Monday said it received no official notice demanding that Nairobi’s Ambassador to Mogadishu return home following allegations of interference with the country’s internal and political affairs.

Nairobi also rejected the accusations, terming them “unsubstantiated".

In a statement, the Kenyan Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it supports Somalia’s rebuilding and cautioned the move could distract Mogadishu’s own roadmap.

“The government of Kenya respects and upholds the cardinal international principles of self-determination, sovereignty, political independence and territorial integrity of all countries, and in particular those in Africa.

Kenya’s reaction came after Somalia on Sunday summoned its ambassador to Nairobi, Mohamud Ahmed Nur ‘Tarzan’, for “consultations” after accusing Kenya of interference.

Mogadishu also ordered Kenya’s Ambassador to Somalia Lucas Tumbo to return to Nairobi. The EastAfrican learnt that the announcement was made after Mr Nur had already arrived in Mogadishu.


Jubbaland factor

Mr Nur, the Permanent Secretary in the Somalia Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said on national TV that Kenya had prevailed upon the leader of the Jubbaland state, Ahmed Mohamed Islan Madobe, to renege on a key political agreement.

The agreement between federal states and the federal government reached two months ago concerned arranging indirect elections for MPs at capitals of each federal state.

“The federal government of Somalia understands that as a result of the Kenyan government’s political interference in the internal affairs of Somalia, Jubbaland State President has reversed his position on the election agreement that was reached on the September 17 in Mogadishu,” the PS said on Sunday.

Part of that political deal meant that two main town centres in each of the five federal states would be polling centres for election of MPs.

But Jubbaland bickered with the federal government on whether the state would be fully take charge of the centres’ security. They also disagreed on the actual centres.

On Sunday, Madobe warned that there would be no election in his state unless the matter was resolved urgently.

But Kenya says it was encouraging all sides to discuss any contentious issues to ensure the polls go on.

“It is therefore incumbent upon all political actors in Somalia to stay true to their political commitments, avoid distracting actions [and] engage constructively to ensure timely implementation of the elections calendar, which will mark another critical phase in the post-conflict reconstruction efforts in Somalia.”