Somalia Kicks out Kenya's Ambassador over 'Election Interference'

Mogadishu has directed Kenya’s Ambassador Lucas Tumbo to leave Somalia over Nairobi’s alleged ‘blatant interference’ in the troubled country’s internal affairs, Chimp Corps report.

Relations between Mogadishu and Nairobi have been rocky under President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed over maritime disputes and now the forthcoming general elections in Somalia.

Somalia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Sunday said in a statement that it was recalling its ambassador to Kenya Mohamed Nuur Tarzan ‘for consultations’.

Somalia Kicks out Kenya's Ambassador over 'Election Interference'

“The federal government of Somalia understands that as a result of the Kenyan government’s political interference in the internal affairs of Somalia, the regional president of Jubaland, has reneged on the election agreement that was reached on the 17th September 2020 in Mogadishu,” the statement read in part.

Somalia’s leaders recently reached a consensus on a plan to hold forthcoming parliamentary and presidential elections through indirect voting, ended a two-year political stalemate between the Federal Government and federal member states.

According to the electoral schedule, members of the two houses of the Federal Parliament will be selected by the end of December, with the President’s election by the new Parliament slated for February 2021.

However, nominations to the electoral management bodies were several weeks behind schedule and remain the subject of contention.  Also to be finalized is the electoral security plan to ensure the safe holding of elections and minimize the risk of the Al-Shabaab insurgent group disrupting or influencing the process.

Interestingly, Jubbaland president Ahmed Madobe last week withdrew his support for the implementation of this election’s roadmap.

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On arrival from Nairobi, Madobe said elections would not be held in Garbaharey until the Federal Government ceases control of the area.

Garbaharey was among the election centres selected during the meeting of regional leaders in Mogadishu meeting in September.

Mogadishu responded by attacking Kenya for meddling in Somalia’s affairs.

“The Federal Government of Somalia expressed its regret in the government of Kenya’s overt and blatant interferences in the internal and political affairs of the Federal Republic of Somalia which has the potential to be a hindrance to the stability, security and development of the entire region,” the statement reads.

“In recent weeks, it has become apparent to the Federal Government of Somalia that the Kenyan government is placing great political pressure on the regional president of Jubaland, Mr Axmed Maxamed Islaan (Madobe) in order to pursue its economic interests in Somalia.”

Somalia said it “strongly upholds the principles of interdependence and maintaining our friendly relations with our neighbouring countries. However, the Federal government of Somalia believes that the Kenyan government actions are not in line with the internationally recognised diplomatic relations enjoyed by sovereign states.”

Mogadishu has previously accused Madobe of receiving support from Kenya. Mogadishu last year threatened not to recognise Madobe election but vacated this stance later.

Last year, Kenya kicked out Somalia’s envoy amid tense relations over the maritime dispute before cancelling direct flights to Nairobi.

Somalia responded by restricting imports of khat from Kenya and shifted donor meetings from Nairobi to Addis Ababa.

Baseless accusations

Kenya president recently dismissed as “baseless” claims by Mogadishu that it was interfering in Somalia’s internal affairs.

“They are part of a growing and persistent pattern of ill intent to use Kenya as a scapegoat and a tool to justify challenges in Somalia for political reasons. Kenya will not accept to be used in that manner,” Kenya State House said in a statement in March, 2020.

Kenya told Somalia to stop the smear campaign and “commit the energy to deliver leadership and prosperity to its people.”

Somali president Farmajo is said to be unpopular over the handling of the country’s domestic politics, failure to build a strong army to provide security and a poor foreign policy.

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