IGAD calls for urgent meeting of Kenya and Somalia standoff

MOGADISHU, Somalia – Heads of States and governments of IGAD will have an extraordinary summit on December 20, 2020, chairman has said, with the main agenda being a recent protest letter by Somalia over alleged interference of Kenya on her internal affairs, something which Nairobi has denied.

Hamdok, who is the current chair of IGAD, a regional body that deals with matters of security and development, will also be tasked to discuss the current crisis in the Tigray region, which saw the Ethiopian government deploy ENDF troops to crush the TPLF regional force, leading to mass displacement of people.

In a tweet on Sunday, Somalia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed the impending summit, adding that it was convened following her protest letter to IGAD over Kenya’s “continued interference of our domestic affairs”. It’s not clear whether Kenya has been notified over the same matter.

A tweet from the same department had earlier claimed that the extraordinary summit was triggered by a “lawsuit” that Somalia lodged against Kenya but moments later, it was deleted and replaced by the term “letter”. The meeting will be held in Djibouti, Somalia added.

“In response to the Federal Government of Somalia letter against Kenya, which was submitted to H.E. , PM of the Republic of Sudan and the Chair of the IGAD Assembly of Heads of State and Government, the IGAD will hold a summit in Djibouti on Dec 20 on this matter,” the tweet read.

Somalia has been at loggerheads with Kenya, accusing the East Africa nation of “inciting” Jubaland President Ahmed Madobe to withdraw from the September pre-election deal which has paralyzed elections in Somalia that was scheduled from this December.

Madobe, a close ally of Kenya, recently insisted that elections will not take place in Jubaland until the federal government of Somalia honors the pledge of withdrawing the Somali National Army [SNA] from Gedo besides handing over several administration units to the local governments that are under the control of Madobe.

Although President Farmajo had pledged to withdraw SNA from Gedo, his administration now blames Kenya for the standoff, but Nairobi has often distanced herself from the fiasco. Somalia has since expelled Kenya Ambassador in Mogadishu besides recalling her envoy to Nairobi over the matter.

But the situation would even deteriorate further after Kenya hosted Muse Bihi Abdi, the president of the breakaway region of Somaliland in northern Somalia. Bihi and a delegation of senior government officials from Hargeisa arrived in Nairobi on Sunday and are due to meet President on Monday [today].

Kenya has been working strategically with Somaliland, which is pushing for international recognition, and the Jubaland state of Somalia in the fight against Al-Shabaab, a move that could not resonate well with Mogadishu. It’s not clear if Somalia will raise the matter at the IGAD summit.

However, it’s highly unlikely that President will physically attend the Djibouti summit given that his Monday’s meeting with Somaliland leaders is his last public meeting before proceeding to a month-long leave. Due to this, his Foreign Affairs Minister Raychelle Omamo could represent him in Djibouti.

Somalia’s opposition leaders and the Jubaland and Puntland presidents have demanded that the current Electoral Committee be overhauled arguing that it constituted of many NISA agents and civil servants. Also, they have unanimously agreed that SNA troops be withdrawn from Gedo for the electoral princess to continue.


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